Police patrols have been launched around Brockholes Nature Reserve to combat yobs harming wildlife by riding motorbikes and starting fires.
Officers and firefighters will be patrolling the site in Preston this week after residents raised concerns about anti-social behaviour causing distress to birds and other wildlife.
Sgt Michael Sampson said: “The inconsiderate actions of a small minority are causing significant nuisance in the area, harming wildlife and ruining the area for the majority.
“We will be running this operation in the hope we can halt these problems and allow the local wildlife and other users to continue enjoying the reserve and the surrounding areas.
“Bikers who ride around Preston in a dangerous and anti-social manner risk having their bike seized – or crushed – under police powers.
“Residents have told us that they are concerned about motorcycle nuisance and this operation is about addressing that. We will take direct action against anyone we find breaking the law.”
Firefighters will be using their new all-terrain vehicle during the operation, which will allow them to deal with any fires and seize motorbikes.
Shaun Walton, Preston Fire Station manager, said: “Fires have been started – any one of which has the potential to injure and kill and can cause immense damage to property and the environment.
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to be key partners in this necessary crackdown, which offers us the added benefit of being out-and-about in the area to enable the public to approach us with their concerns, not just about the biker nuisance, but in relation to fire safety in general.”
Kath Knight, general manager at the nature reserve, welcomed extra patrols, particularly in the evening.
She said: “We want Brockholes to be as much a place for the local community as we do for tourists from all over the North West and beyond.
“Brockholes is self funding and any damage caused by anti social behaviour can have both a short term and long term devastating impact on the reserve and our visitors.
“We will continue to work closely with the police as well as continuing our own security measures to support them in stopping this anti social behaviour.”
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 allows the police to confiscate motorcycles from anyone who rides their bike illegally and in an inconsiderate or careless manner.
Anyone who wishes to ride an off-road bike, a quad bike or go-ped should ensure they have public liability insurance.
People who wish to ride their bike on roads must also make sure their vehicle is registered, taxed and has a valid MOT certificate.
If you want to report motorcycle nuisance, phone the police on 101.