Police in the Dee Valley are warning illegal off-roaders who damage fragile and protected moorland that they risk being prosecuted and having their vehicles seized.
The warning follows an operation on Sunday, December 7, which was mounted in response to public concerns that some riders and drivers are riding or driving illegally on highly protected land.
Local officers joined forces with their partners from Natural Resources Wales and staff from Denbighshire County Council and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to conduct this day of action.
“The operation focused on the Moel Fferna, Ceiriog Forest, Cynwyd Forest and the Llantysilio Mountain areas which have been identified as areas that are being used illegally by some who have been off-roading on footpaths and the moors,” said local District Inspector for the Conwy and Denbigh Rural area Gareth Jones.
“Both Moel Fferna and Llantysilio Mountain are classed as Special Areas of Conservation and are protected under European law.
"For a number of years now we, along with our partners, have been warning against illegal off-roading. Yesterday’s action is part of our on-going work to stop the illegal activity which is having a detrimental impact on the area’s flora and habitats – much of which is highly protected.”
A total of 16 people were stopped as part of the operation. Seven were disrupted prior to committing offences and left the area, five were issued Section 59 notices and reported for various offences, another was reported for a related offence whilst three others were given appropriate words of advice for minor matters.
Insp Jones added: “This area forms part of a Protected Landscape, of which there are only five in Wales. We will be continuing with our work and advising all off-roaders that when they go out on their bikes or in their 4x4 to ensure they stay on designated legal routes. The reality is that riders who break the law are likely to be prosecuted and risk having their vehicles seized.”