HEAVY fines and penalty points have been dished out to off-road bikers as part of a new crackdown on an issue which police say is ‘blighting’ Barnsley’s countryside.

Weekly police-led operations began in the town last week - something which will continue throughout the month - while notable successes came at the weekend with the seizure of several quads in Brierley, a motorbike in Grimethorpe and the issuing of warning notices in Athersley.

It comes after a man was fined £415, disqualified from driving and given nine penalty points for illegal riding in fields between Shafton and Ryhill, while another man was fined £811 and given eight penalty points for riding a quad bike on a route from Brierley to South Kirkby.

Sgt Richard Wilson told the Chronicle: “One rider in Grimethorpe was stopped who was riding on road but found to be a disqualified driver.

“His machine was seized and he will be prosecuted for a variety of driving offences, in addition to disqualified driving. That vehicle won’t be going back to him.

In Text Promo Image

“An additional two machines were also seized as the riders did not have the necessary driving documents. These are also likely to be destroyed as the owners will not obtain insurance to get them back.”

Partnership working between South and West Yorkshire forces remains ongoing because of riders’ tendency to use countryside lanes and fields on the border, while a drone funded by Barnsley Council is being used to provide aerial coverage.

Inspector Paul Sullivan said: “We have had an excellent set of results from our off-road officers and they illustrate the impact they are having in our communities.

“The team now has the ability to operate seven days a week and mount repeated, targeted patrols in the area where we know our key suspects are operating.

“We are also seeing courts dealing positively with the persons officers are putting before them with more than £1,200 in fines issued to persons convicted of illegal riding.

“This is obviously very welcome as it is making it clear to those involved that when they are caught, they will lose their bikes, their driving licences, and be left with mounting financial penalties.

“It has also been very positive to see our officers receiving increasing amounts of information from the public, allowing them to target those who we know are most active in causing disruption.”