Off-road bikers on Sutton park are 'putting resident's lives in danger'

Council Leader Jason Zadrozny with councillors Samantha Deakin and David Hennigan
Council Leader Jason Zadrozny with councillors Samantha Deakin and David Hennigan

A promise has been made to stop a popular Sutton park from 'becoming a racetrack'.

Councillors in Central Sutton and New Cross are working with the police and council to catch and ban off-road bikers on Sutton Lawn who they say are wrecking their park for others.
In recent weeks, the problem with off road bikers has got far worse.
Councillors are working with their own Community Protection Team and the Police to resolve the problem.
Covert cameras are in operation on the park as the team aim to nip the problem in the bud.
Coun David Hennigan says he has been inundated with complaints from residents with some families refusing to use the popular park until the problems are resolved.
He said, "Let me be blunt, anyone who thinks it's acceptable to tear around our Lawn on an unlicensed bike is a dangerous idiot.
"It is not acceptable to put lives in danger in this irresponsible manner.
"We are working to catch the offenders and seize their bikes. They are putting resident's lives in danger. This makes me so angry.
"Riding an unlicensed, off road bike on our parks is not acceptable now. It is not acceptable ever.
"I've had families call me and say they don't feel safe on our park and until this problem is sorted - they are not going to us our Lawn.
"I have a message for anybody who rides these bikes on our parks, we will catch you, we will seize your bike and we will push for severest penalties to stop you doing it again."
It is illegal to drive or ride a mechanically propelled vehicle without lawful authority on common land, moorland or land not forming part of a road, or on any road which is a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway (Section 34, Road Traffic Act 1988).
You can be reported to appear in court for driving without insurance or a driving licence, as well as for careless or dangerous driving, driving without due care or attention or for driving on common land.
Coun Samantha Deakin said: "Sutton Lawn is an amazing place and so popular during the summer holidays.
"Families come from miles away to enjoy this beautiful park. Unfortunately, this is being wrecked by a small minority and this is putting people off.
"I worked with residents and the council to get tens of thousands of pounds to improve our play park on The Lawn.
"Our Council went over and above to make sure it was ready for the summer holidays. It's proved wildly popular but the fact that some residents won't come because of a few idiots is not on at all.
"I'd like to thank council leader Jason Zadrozny for joining us on the park to put an action plan in place to deal with this.
"We are in constant dialogue with Notts Police and our Council's Community Protection Team have stepped up patrols.
"Together, we'll sort this so that families, dog walkers and everyone else can enjoy our park and feel safe."
Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: "Off road bikes are a huge problem across our district.
"Last year, we confiscated six of them. They cause misery for residents and the selfish few who use them need to know that when you use them on our streets or parks you are putting lives in danger.
"This council has worked so hard to improve dozens of parks across our district - our parks have received the biggest investment for a generation over the last year and we won't tolerate anyone who abuses our parks and puts families off.
"When on The Lawn with Samantha and David, dog walkers told me that the only reason there was a respite was because of the poor weather.
"I am determined, as council leader to ensure that our parks don't become racetracks."
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for the Ashfield District, Craig Hall, said: “The police record off-road motorcycles as anti-social behaviour (ASB). Since January 1, this year we have had very few incidents of this nature reported to us in regards to Sutton Lawn.
"We currently have on ongoing problem-solving plan in place for the Leamington and New Cross areas, which encompasses Sutton Lawn. This plan is aimed at reducing ASB among other things.
"Anti-social behaviour in the area has reduced by over 12 per cent in comparison with the same period last year, and when compared to a force average reduction of 3.1 percent it can be shown that we are actually bucking the trend in Sutton.
"Off-road motorcyclists and other people using vehicles illegally are a real problem for our communities and this is not a problem specific to Ashfield.
"We will continue to work to reduce the impact offenders have on the community. This can be evidenced by the fact that the police have seized 36 vehicles that were being used illegally in the area since May 1.
"Many of these offenders were targeted due to improved information sharing with our partners. These are really positive examples of what can be achieved and the results are testament to the ongoing partnership work we have been doing in the area.
"Councillors David Hennigan and Sam Deakin have engaged with the partnership activity throughout the period and they have been really supportive around our activities in their area.
"We are building a very strong partnership between the police, Ashfield District Council and our elected members. The Neighbourhood Policing Team is dedicated to continuing to work closely with partners, including the community, to tackle such issues across the district.
"This is the most effective way to continue to help Ashfield be a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and visit and I am pleased to see our elected councillors are as dedicated to working together as the Neighbourhood Policing Team is."