North East police officers have teamed up with Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) to tackle illegal riders in woodland areas.
Launched in Fettereso Forrest on the 17th of April, the initiative warns individuals who choose to use motorcycles or off-road vehicles in an anti-social or illegal way, that they will face prosecution.
Sergeant Mark Conner of North East Police Division said: “We are determined to work with FES to tackle this type of anti-social behaviour. Not only is it illegal for unauthorised motor vehicles to access these forests, but some of the people who do so are driving recklessly at speed across terrain that is more than likely not appropriate for this type of activity.
“This type of behaviour is not only putting themselves at risk of serious or fatal injury but also other members of the public who are enjoying our Forests.
“Members of the public who witness such illegal activity are encouraged to report this through Police Scotlands non-emergency line – 101. They should report as much detail as possible including location, registration, colour of vehicle and detail of the driver/riders clothing.”
Neil Taylor, Recreation Ranger with FES, said: “Unauthorised access with motorised vehicles is illegal, dangerous and a sure fire way to spoil other people’s enjoyment of the forests.
“Last year recklessly driven motorbikes spooked horses, causing them to throw off and seriously injure their riders. One horse then ran out onto public roads and was also injured.
“Quite simply this is anti-social behaviour and we want to put a stop to it. Our partnership with Police Scotland has had some impact and we intend to make full use of the law to get the message across that it will not be tolerated.”
FES encourages off-road biking and driving enthusiasts to get organised and join an official club.
Mr Taylor added: “A great example of how to do things properly is the Bon Accord Motor Cycle Club, with which we have a good working relationship. They regularly approach us with ideas for events and to seek permissions and after discussing relevant issues and agreeing some conditions of use, we are happy for them to make use of local forests.”
FES staff have placed signs at all gates indicating the name of the access point to help the public report such matters.