POLICE Scotland and the Forestry Commission today joined forces in a major crackdown on the menace of bikers using motorcycle scramblers and mini motos in a popular woodland at the foot of the Sidlaw Hills in Angus.
A spokesman for the Tayside Division of Police Scotland said that members of the pubic visiting Balkello Woods, a beauty spot on the outskirts of Dundee, had been left “frustrated and concerned” by the number of motorbikes being used off road in the area.
He continued: “They are views shared by local police officers and the Forestry Commission who are taking action to curtail these incidents and prevent anyone from being seriously hurt.”
Constable Sean Scanlon, the force’s community officer for the Sidlaw, Muirhead and Birkhill areas, said: “We are all too aware of the inherent dangers that arise from the irresponsible and illegal use of motorcycles – on and off road. That applies to scramblers, mini and midi motos as well as the on road bikes.
“Balkello Woods is a popular attraction for people of all ages - whether dog walkers, families on an outing or and people generally out for a walk in the country. The noise nuisance and anxiety caused by motorbikes being ridden in the area is not something they should have to contend with.”
He continued: “‘Such behaviour causes concern for the police and our colleagues in the Forestry Commission, as well as the public, because of the obvious risks to the riders and to the public who might come in to harm’s way through no fault of their own.
“Be in no doubt that we will be monitoring the area very closely and will take action against these motorcyclists to prevent the possibility of any tragic incident.”
Robin Lofthouse, the area’s forrester, explained: “There have been issues with the use of unauthorised motor vehicles at Balkello Community Woodland for a number of years, but with this summer’s good weather we have seen an increase in the number of motorcycles and mini quads using the area. Their use destroys people’s quiet enjoyment of the site and causes damage to the picnic areas and trails.
“The Forestry Commission, Police Scotland and members of Auchterhouse Community Woodland Action Group will be working together to make the site a safe and peaceful place for the public to enjoy.”
The force spokesman said: “Tayside Division officers have long focused on reducing the anti-social and illegal use of motorcycles and make full use of Anti-Social and Road Traffic legislation to seize
motorcycles that are being used illegally. Following enforcement, many of the vehicles seized are ultimately dismantled and crushed.
“Powers granted under Road Traffic and Anti-Social Behaviour legislation allow the police to seize vehicles – including motorcycles and mini-motos – where they have been driven without licence or insurance, or, in this scenario, where they are used in an anti-social manner.”