Off-road bikers banned from Mansfield beauty spot
Nuisance off-road bikers have been dealt a blow after police and council staff were handed new powers to crack down on riders.
At a meeting on Tuesday evening, Mansfield District Council renewed and expanded an existing Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to include a popular biking location known as The Desert.
The order – valid from 2022 to 2025 – bans riders from the area and grants council officers and the police the ability to fine or prosecute people if they are committing several wide-reaching offences.
These include drinking alcohol or begging in public places, failing to clear up after dog fouling, and cycling through pedestrianised areas in the town centre at certain times.
It also allows groups to be dispersed if they are causing (or are likely to cause) nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress to any other person in the town centre.
The Desert is a large area of open space to the South of Eakring Road and has previously been popular with walkers. In recent years, however, it has become a location known for the antisocial and dangerous use of motorcycles.
Inspector Kylie Davies, district commander for Mansfield, said: “People who drive and ride off-road vehicles illegally in our parks and other green spaces are not only a nuisance; they are also a considerable danger to other members of the public and to themselves.
“There are many things we already do to tackle this selfish and antisocial behaviour, including seizing bikes when people are behaving in an antisocial away.
“This new protection order will make it easier for us to do this by giving us the power to order riders away from the area – regardless of how they are behaving. If people don’t comply then we will seize their bikes.
“Our off-road team will maintain a regular presence in the area in the coming weeks and months to enforce the law and gather evidence against those who continue to ride illegally.”
Cllr Maron Bradshaw, portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing, said: “The behaviour of off-roaders at The Desert has been raised by residents as a cause for concern for some time, and the landowners and police are fully supportive of the council's proposals in the new PSPO.
“We are working with Newark and Sherwood District Council, who are responsible for part of the land, to see if we can take a united approach on tackling the off-roader problem.
"The council works closely with our partners to assess the use of PSPO offences and their current relevance, and to actively consider and consult with the public if changes are needed.
"It is just one of the many tools in our armoury giving the council and police powers to ensure persistent crime and anti-social behaviour issues are tackled more effectively.
“As well as being an obvious danger to people on foot, these vehicles also cause much danger and disturbance to the wildlife in the area. Now, with the approval of this order, it can be given a chance to flourish.”
Anyone who fails to meet the requirements of the order or comply with a request from a police officer, a police community support officer (PCSO) or an authorised council officer could receive a £100 fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted.