64 vehicles were stopped by police on Thetford Forestry land during a recent two-day multi-agency operation following reports of illegal off-road vehicle use.

Over the weekend of 26/26 July, South Breckland Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Suffolk Rural Crime Team, alongside members of Suffolk Special Constabulary and Norfolk Drone Units, worked with Forestry England on the Norfolk and Suffolk side of the border over a full weekend of high-visibility action as part of Operation RESHAPE20.

A total of 64 vehicles were stopped by police across both force areas and explanations given by officers to some riders that people can be prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 or have vehicles seized under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 for using vehicles such as quad bikes and off-road bikes.

PC Les Maguire said: "We used all-terrain and 4x4 vehicles for off-road patrols. The intention is to make the forest a no-go zone for illegal riding, which is basically anywhere in the forest which is not a public byway, and use enforcement where applicable to prosecute offenders."

Protected species and their respective habitats are said to be being destroyed and disturbed by people illegally riding motorbikes through fire breaks, as opposed to legal use of the byways.

PC Maguire added: "Police also spoke with many responsible legal users of byways over the weekend. The vast majority were only too happy to speak with us and we welcome their responsible attitude."

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