Police crackdown on illegal motorbikes in Thetford Forest

A police quad bike with some illegal motorbikes in Thetford Forest
A police quad bike with some illegal motorbikes in Thetford Forest

A police crackdown on illegal motorcyclists in Thetford Forest has seen six issued with notices for anti-social behaviour with a motor vehicle issued this month.

Some bikers have also been warned for riding in environmentally sensitive areas, for which they can be fined up to £5,000 and lose their bikes.

Diss Motorcycle Club says the police checks have shown most riders on byways are road-legal and aware of responsibilities.

But the club warns some riders have still not got the message and adds: “If you are trail riding, you must be road legal and you must not deviate from authorised green lane routes.

“During the autumn and winter months checks will continue. Members of the public using the forest, local residents and Diss MCC are being very proactive in assisting the police and forestry with this exercise.”

Three ‘section 59’ anti-social use notices were issued last weekend after public calls to the Forestry Commission.

Off road riding in the forest is only permitted at authorised tracks such as Hit the Dirt at Swaffham or the Norfolk and Suffolk Schoolboy Track at Hockham.

The club adds: “Even then riding at these venues is only permitted when they are open for an event or authorised practise day.

“All other areas of forest including locations, such as Two Mile Bottom or where the Diss Club run enduro events, are strictly no go.”

Victoria Tustian, Forestry Commision Thetford and Sandlings recreation and community manager, said: “Motorbikes can travel through the forest and countryside in general using Byways Open to all Traffic (or green lanes as they are sometimes known) which are marked on Ordnance Survey Maps.

“There are many responsible motorbike riders who use these byways and a number of green lane associations who promote responsible vehicle access. Because they are byways all vehicles using them must be road legal and insured.

“However we do get a number of motorbikes who do not stay on the right track and drive around the forest at speed on small trails and forest roads.

“These bikes are often not insured or road legal and are a risk to the public using the forest legally and protected wildlife. Thetford Forest is a Special Protection Area and has a number of protected species including Schedule 1 ground nesting birds such as Stone Curlew and Nightjar which have been disturbed by motorbike activity in the past.

“The Forestry Commission work with the police to educate motorbike riders on responsible use of the byways. We have also had some very successful Forest Impact Days where we have spent time in the forest with the police stopping motorbike riders to check insurance details and discourage riders accessing the forest illegally.”