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Update July 2008

Off-road biker hit with 12-month driving ban for riding illegally in Mansfield


An off-road biker has been convicted of dangerous driving at court yesterday after being caught riding illegally on land known as ‘The Desert’ in Mansfield.

The 17-year-old was charged with various motoring offences back in April as part of a large-scale police crackdown on illegal bikers, Operation Nebraska.

At Mansfield Magistrates the youth was found guilty of dangerous driving, driving without insurance or a valid licence and failing to stop. He was disqualified from driving for a year and given a referral order.

The conviction comes just as three other arrests were made on ‘The Desert’ last weekend as part of the same enforcement campaign.

Two local men, aged 35 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of driving offences on the site and another, aged 50, for theft.

The trio have since been released on police bail.

A 21-year-old man is still on bail after he was also arrested back in April on suspicion of dangerous driving at the site – bringing the arrest total to five.

Operation Nebraska is a two-year enforcement campaign that began three months ago to target illegal off-road vehicles on ‘The Desert’ - an area owned by UK COAL, The Forestry Commission and County Council.

Since the operation’s April start, a total of 228 off-road bikes and 4x4’s have been turned away from the site’s entry points.

Officers have seized 28 motorbikes, issued 45 Section 59 warning notices and hit seven people with £200 fines and six points on their drivers’ license.

Nebraska’s lead officer, PC Craig Bromley, said: “The conviction shows the consequences of flouting the law and should deter bikers using the site in future.

“We want to acknowledge that most responsible bikers are keeping away and using legitimate biking sites instead, which was our ultimate goal.



“However, police will not be relaxing the operation’s momentum. Nebraska is running for two years at least. Stay off The Desert or face the penalties.”

END

Notes to editors
Bikers have no legal right on the 500 acres of land privately owned by UK COAL, as they do not have the company’s permission.

Motor-bikers caught on the UK COAL site will receive a £30 fine and Section 59 seizure notice – for those who return within 12 months, their vehicle will be confiscated.

Off-road biking on Eakring Road – an ancient public highway – or the rest of The Desert - public land owned by the Forestry Commission - without tax, insurance or a valid MOT will also land a rider in hot water.

Motorcyclists riding on public land or access routes - without the correct documentation – will be issued with hefty, £200 on-the-spot fines and six penalty points on their drivers’ license and also risk their bike being seized.

Bikes will be crushed if owners fail to pay the incurred recovery costs – of up to £300.
 
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