Three organisations have joined forces to deliver Operation Peregrine which targets off-roaders who use their vehicles illegally in Welsh Assembly Government woodlands.
Forestry Commission Wales, South Wales Police and Rhondda Cynon Taff County Bourough Council (RCTCB Council) are clamping down on illegal and potentially dangerous 4x4 and motorbike activity in woodlands in the Rhondda and Cynnon Valleys in order to make the public forests safer for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The most recent action carried out under Operation Peregrine led to several vehicles being stopped by police officers from Tonypandy Neighbourhood Policing Team working alongside staff from Forestry Commission Wales and RCTCB Council.
One motorcycle was seized for riding on a footpath in Clydach Vale, Tonypandy and two scrambler motorcycle riders were issued with written warnings for riding in public woodlands near Cwmparc, Rhondda.
Police Sergeant Andrew Scourfield who is seconded to Forestry Commission Wales said, "Unauthorised motorised access to the public woodlands is entirely unacceptable. It is intimidating for other forest users and could result in serious or even fatal injury.
"This illegal activity not only affects legitimate forest users but can impact on public safety and protected species or habitats."
This latest clampdown builds on previous enforcement activities carried out under Operation Peregrine that have led to a decline in the illegal use of off-road motor cycles and 4x4s in woodlands in Clydach Vale over recent months. When this area was first targeted a few years ago, it was not unusual to stop over 20 vehicles.
The local community has assisted the operation by regularly reporting the unlawful and nuisance use of off-road vehicles in the woodlands which has helped the partners to target the area at the right times.
Police Sergeant Paul Newcombe from Tonypandy Police Station said, "We work closely with our colleagues from Forestry Commission Wales and RCTCB Council on a number of issues.
"The partnership approach of Operation Peregrine has ensured we have been successful in reducing annoyance and incidents caused by illegal off-road activity in woodlands in the area.
"Our message is clear - if you ride illegally or in a manner that is likely to cause annoyance to the public, you risk having your vehicle seized."
Operation Peregrine will continue throughout South Wales during the summer months and the public can report illegal motorsport activity by telephoning South Wales Police on 101.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, email@example.com, 0300 068 0057.