Off-road bikers have vehicles seized in police operation at 'The Desert' hotspot
Off-road bikers have had their vehicles seized by police after complaints by fed-up residents and landowners in the Mansfield area.
Police swooped at a notorious biking hotspot known as ‘The Desert’ in Rainworth, as well as at land off the A614 at Deerdale Lane in Bilsthorpe.
Illegal off-road biking was also reported at sites in the villages of Kirton, near Ollerton, Walesby and South Scarle.
Complaints were made that the bikers, riding 4X4 vehicles, churned up private land, wreaked havoc on the local habitat and were also guilty of anti-social behaviour, noise and criminal damage.
The police duly launched Operation Reacher, bringing together officers from the Newark and Sherwood beat teams, and patrols took place over four weekends during March. Drones were also used in the operation.
Three vehicles were stopped and seized for being ridden without tax and insurance, while four riders were stopped and issued with warning notices. Two riders were summoned to court for driving offences.
Insp Heather Sutton, who is the district commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: “This operation was a really positive example of the proactive approach we are taking to tackle issues that people tell us matter to them.
"As a rural community, our public and green spaces are extremely important. People care deeply about them.
"Behaviour, where off-road bikes are being ridden on footpaths, in parks and on land without the owner’s permission, is not only disruptive, as a result of noise, but also causes damage that those owners have to repair.
"Since the operation, it is very promising to hear of a significant reduction in calls about illegal off-road biking.
"We encourage people to report any such issues and also to take part in the #WhatMatters survey on our website which supports the force’s focus on the priorities of neighbourhoods.
"We are here to listen and to act upon information to improve the lives of people in our communities.
"If anyone is considering visiting Nottinghamshire on their motorbikes or quad bikes, they should be prepared to be stopped by the police.”
At one time, ‘The Desert’ in Rainworth was so popular with off-road bikers that burger vans turned up to trade there.