‘Ride recklessly here and you will pay the price’

Attacker followed his victim for a mile before assault in city alleyway

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POLICE have today launched a summer of zero tolerance against nuisance joyriders who are plaguing a Havant beauty spot.

Over the past year reports have increased of offenders using motorbikes and mini-motos to ride across Havant Thicket – and police say they have had enough.

CLAMPDOWN PCSO Samantha Heath and PC Mark Pilsworth from Havant Police Station and Leigh Park Safer Neighbourhood Team, at Havant Thicket. Picture: Sarah Standing (131910-961)

CLAMPDOWN PCSO Samantha Heath and PC Mark Pilsworth from Havant Police Station and Leigh Park Safer Neighbourhood Team, at Havant Thicket. Picture: Sarah Standing (131910-961)

The beautiful stretch of countryside is popular with walkers and horse-riders and there are fears a serious collision could happen.

Working with the Forestry Commission, CCTV cameras have been placed in spots around the woods in a bid to catch offenders.

More patrols of officers on bicycles are starting this week and the force is using a mobile CCTV van in various spots around the thicket.

PC Mark Pilsworth, from Leigh Park Safer Neighbourhood team, said: ‘As the summer holidays approach, it’s even more of a priority for us to do all we can to protect people from harm and prevent the disruption inflicted by such anti-social behaviour.

‘It won’t be tolerated – and any offenders must realise that they will face the consequences of the law for endangering lives.

‘My message to anyone who thinks the thicket is their personal playground for joyriding is – stop now before someone is hurt.

‘The thrill of riding off-road recklessly could turn into a tragedy – consider the safety of others before you get back in the saddle.’

Police say offenders could be taken to court and face large fines. Motorbikes can be seized at any time, whether they are on the thicket or on the road, once police have collated evidence.

Officers will also hand over the names of offenders to the local councils and housing associations, which may take action against people who cause anti-social behaviour.

Residents have complained about the noise caused by the joy-riders.

One local mother who walks with her children at the thicket, who did not want to be named, said: ‘You’re constantly scared that a motorcyclist will knock you over.’

Another walker said: ‘The bikes can come whizzing around corners all over the place with a disregard for safety. I’ve had to jump out of the way sometimes to avoid being hit myself.’

PC Pilsworth added: ‘I’d like to thank the community for keeping in contact with us about these problems.’

Call police on 101.