Joint patrols have been launched to target illegal ‘off-roaders’ on the North York Moors.

Ryedale Police has teamed up with the North York Moors National Park to clamp down on illegal off-road motorcycles and 4x4 vehicles causing damage to protected moorland.

PC Rob Harrison, from the Ryedale Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Our officers have launched a series of joint patrols alongside national park Rangers to deter and detect the culprits.

"The first was held on Saturday, April 27, across an area including Rudland Rigg near Kirkbymoorside.

"On the day, we were pleased to report that all the riders and drivers we encountered were responsible and considerate ‘green laning’ off-road motorists who use sustainable unsurfaced, unclassified Roads where a legal right of access exists.

"They were happy to see the joint Police-Ranger presence and welcomed future patrols and enforcement against offenders who, unfairly, often give them a bad name by mistaken association.

PC Harrison added: “North Yorkshire Police and North York Moors National Park will not tolerate the damaging misuse of the moorland by off-road motorcycles and 4x4 vehicles in the Ryedale area.

“We’re regularly patrolling these areas unannounced, and we’re determined to catch offenders in the act and prosecute them if necessary.

“Suspects can expect to have their vehicles seized, receive a fine and, potentially, receive penalty points on their driving licence.”

Gez Marshall Ben Jackson, a Ranger from the North York Moors National Park, said: “Illegal off-roading, which is when vehicles stray onto areas where no legal rights for them exist, can have a severe impact on the landscapes and local communities of the North York Moors National Park.

“This activity endangers wildlife and habitats, damages fragile surfaces and causes conflict with other responsible users.

“As we have seen over the weekend, we also carry out regular joint patrols with North Yorkshire Police who ensure off-road riders and drivers are aware of the legal requirements relating to their hobby.

“Namely that vehicles must be road legal, and that the tracks they use must have a legal right of access to motorised vehicles.

“We encourage people to report suspected illegal off-roading to the police, with as many details as possible.”

You can report incidents via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101, option 4.

If you would prefer to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or by making an online report.

If an emergency response is required, always dial 999.

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