It was great to hear today that Officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and United Utilities (UU) have teamed up once again in Norden to tackle the ongoing nuisance caused by off-road bikers around Scout Moor this weekend.
The activity is part of a long-running operation which aims to identify off-roaders, seize their vehicles and have them crushed.
The matter was raised at recent area forums and I am delighted to see that Officers have wasted little time in organising an operation that has been extremely successful, with the seizure for three vehicles used to transport off-road bikes. This is a very welcome development as it points to a prompt response to concerns raised by members of the local community about off road bikers , from as far afield as Merseyside coming to our moorland to indulge in these dangerous activities.
Community Police Officers in Norden have visited numerous local residents to hear their views and have acted upon them. The positive actions that have resulted from that communication is welcomed by local residents.
Particular thanks have to be given to United Utilities, who have a proven track record of taking their broader responsibilities, as landowners on the Moors, extremely seriously. UU Rangers are frequently seen on the moors and on surrounding roads, monitoring activities and supporting GMP.
If other landowners on our Moors directed more resources to preserving this unique habitat ,then these issues could get resolved more quickly.
The fact that the Moors are getting seriously damaged by this anti-social behaviour is beyond any doubt. One Villager who has ridden (horses) on the moor regularly for over 20 years says that paths which used to be wide enough only for a single horse or rambler are now some 25-30metres wide and are so churned up and boggy that they are regularly unusable.
Commenting on recent events on the Moors, Chair of Norden Area Forum said: "The moors are a unique and sensitive environment and an essential green lung for people from all over Rochdale and the whole North West region to enjoy. The anti-social and dangerous behaviour of a number of determined off-road bikers has been repeatedly placing walkers, cyclists and horse riders in danger as well as degrading and defacing this important recreational resource. I am sure that many local residents would join me in applauding the efforts of Greater Manchester Police and the team from United Utilities to make the moors a safer, more tranquil place that we can all enjoy."
Norden Ward Councillor Peter Winkler added: “I am really pleased that we have the continued support of GMP and UU on this issue. Dangerous off-road biking is something that is brought up with me by residents time and time again and it is good to know that officers are taking a hard line by confiscating vehicles and having them crushed.”