A JOINT operation has been carried out targeting illegal off-raoders in the Brecon Beacons, with six men fined for travelling to the area.

Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Gwent Police, along with Brecon Beacons National Park wardens, joined forces on Sunday, February 28 to respond to concerns from the community around the use of quad bikes.

Inspector Gwyndaf Bowen, of Dyfed Powys Police, said: “Operation Rover took place in response to community concerns regarding quad bikes.

“Using criminal, road traffic and public health regulations, we issued both advice to members of the public and prosecutions to those found breaking the law.

“We would like to thank Brecon Beacons National Park Wardens for their support, along with volunteers and residents who helped police spot transgressions and take appropriate action.

“Dyfed-Powys Police will continue with similar operations in different locations throughout the Brecon Beacons National Park as we work to tackle this issue.”

With support from Special Constables, the operation saw 29 officers and staff cover land around Trefil Quarry.

Six men from the Coventry area were issued Covid-19 fixed penalty notices for breaching the stay at home regulations, having travelled to the area with the intention of using scrambler bikes.

Officers are urging people to remember that during the ongoing pandemic, unnecessary travel is not allowed, and it is not permitted to drive to a location for exercise.

Sergeant Matt Thomas added: “Dyfed-Powys Police is taking a joint approach with Gwent and South Wales in order to tackle the antisocial behaviour caused by a small number of people using off-road vehicles at Trefil Quarry. 

“Members of the Neighbourhood and Roads Policing Units will continue to carry out operations throughout the year targeting illegal off road activities, and will use police powers to seize vehicles if necessary”.

It is illegal to ride quad bikes, three-wheeled bikes or trail bikes, and some other two-wheeled vehicles in public parks or on publicly-owned land without permission from the local authority.

These activities can result in the seizure of vehicles, fines and court appearances.

PCSO Billy Dunne said: “My advice to anyone planning on off-roading would be to check it’s legal before you set off.

“You can use your vehicle on byways open to all traffic, or green lanes, however you must have correct insurance, MOT and tax, as well as correct sized number plates. 

“You cannot drive on common land, public access land, land which is not part of a road, forestry tracks, bridleways, footpaths or restricted byways.”

The communities affected by the problem on common land are also heavily involved in helping police to tackle the issue of illegal off-roading.

One farmer’s concerns centred around the disturbance off-roading causes to livestock, with animals forced to leave their grazing areas due to the excess noise.  

Julian Atkins, Chief Executive Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said: “In response to increasing reports of illegal off-roading across the national park, this joint operation is key to highlight the issues that it causes to our fragile landscapes.

“Not only is the noise a disruption of the tranquillity, but also triggers a loss of habitat and displacement of species such as ground nesting birds.

“The erosion and damage caused by these individuals, especially in the wet weather can take years to repair.”

PC Mike Perry Mid Glamorgan Community Safety Team Merthyr, Citizens in Policing officer and wildlife crime officer added: “These activities are destroying our landscape. The only way to protect it in the Beacons is to work together in a co-ordinated approach.”

Further activity is planned in the area, with the joint approach continuing.

PC Estelle Davies, of Gwent Police, said: “The operation was a success and acted as a deterrent to people who hold a disregard for the law and the general community.

“Gwent Police hope to continue this approach with our DPP and SWP colleagues in the near future.”