Woodland wrecked by off-road bikers

PC Mick McKenna with Woodland Trust site manager, Gary Haley and Sunderland City council countryside officer, Ian Smithwhite at the new barriers that have been put in place to stop motorcycle offences near Easington Lane.

PC Mick McKenna with Woodland Trust site manager, Gary Haley and Sunderland City council countryside officer, Ian Smithwhite at the new barriers that have been put in place to stop motorcycle offences near Easington Lane.

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A CAREFULLY-CRAFTED community woodland has been wrecked by menace motorbikers.

As well as ruining woods at Easington Lane, the off-road bikes have been also been plaguing nearby residents’ lives.

Tough measures have now been put in place to slam the brakes on the bikers, who have been churning up land at White Hill Woods – a The Woodland Trust conservation project.

The scheme saw 100,000 saplings planted two years ago to create woodland for the future.

In a bid to stamp out the trouble, police joined forces with Sunderland City Council and trust to build barriers, fencing and A frames to put a stop to the illegal bikers.

Gary Haley, Woodland Trust site manager, said: “White Hill Woods is one of our flagship woods in the North East, one which has had a great deal of local support.

“To see it treated with such a lack of respect is disappointing and hopefully these new measures will enable everyone to enjoy the site as it should be.”

Pc Michael McKenna, neighbourhood beat manager for the area, said: “The Woodland Trust has created a fantastic new woodland area which is a great place for the whole community to enjoy but the behaviour of a few individuals could see it ruined.

“The amount of disorder and disruption these individuals have caused is simply unacceptable.

“Extra police have been on patrol to catch those responsible and putting up fences and barriers will help to reduce and disrupt the problem.

“We will also be carrying out operations and patrols in the area over the coming months.

“Anyone who’s involved in any kind of antisocial or criminal behaviour should be warned that we’re working with other agencies to stop them and will continue to do so.”

Keith Lowes, head of planning and environment at Sunderland City Council, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the police and The Woodland Trust to put an end to antisocial behaviour which has been stopping people from enjoying a fantastic community asset.

“The Woodland Trust has done a terrific job creating the new woodland area and hopefully now people can really begin to enjoy it.”

@SunEchoCrime