ACTION is being taken by the council, Invest NI and the PSNI in a bid to stop scrambler and quad riders from wrecking land along part of the Newtownabbey Way walking and cycling path.
The section of the route from Corr’s Corner to Mossley West railway halt, and the adjoining vacant Global Point site owned by Invest NI, which had been earmarked for the development of a major business park, is a hot-spot for young people riding scramblers and quad bikes. The riders, who are using the land illegally, have destroyed grass areas and caused considerable nuisance to path users.
One local resident who used to be a regular user of the path told the Times that he has stopped walking in the area due to the ongoing destruction.
The Ballyduff man, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I used to use the path seven days a week, but I’ve stopped using it now as the situation with the scramblers and quads wrecking the place is getting out of hand.
“They chew up all the grass verges and ride up alongside you and try to show off by spinning their wheels and spraying muck up all over the path. The whole place is being wrecked; you’d think the place had been rotavated. The damage they’re causing is totally out of order and something needs to be done to get it stopped.”
The disgruntled pedestrian blamed “irresponsible parents” for buying their children scramblers and quads and allowing them to ride them illegally, and he called on the PSNI to take action and prosecute riders for causing criminal damage.
A spokesperson for Invest NI confirmed that incidents of damage caused by scramblers at Global Point over the Christmas and New Year period have been reported to the PSNI.
“Whilst it is the responsibility of the PSNI to enforce law and order, Invest NI will continue to work closely with the PSNI and all relevant stakeholders to prevent future occurrences and ensure that investment decisions are not negatively impacted.
“Invest NI will continue to actively market Global Point Business Park to potential investors and is fully committed to working with all the relevant stakeholders to secure future investment opportunities,” she said.
A spokesperson for the council stressed that Park Wardens have been using a quad bike to patrol the Corr’s Corner - Mossley section of the Newtownabbey Way, and that a number of incidents of quad and scrambler misuse have been reported to the PSNI, who have the power to take prosecutions under the Road Traffic Order.
“The incidents mainly take place at weekends and the vehicles appear to access the path from New Mossley estate. It is believed however that only one of the scrambler riders is local, with the rest coming into the area to illegally use the path and adjoining parkland for scrambling.
“Fencing has been damaged in several places to create unauthorised entrances and the council has carried out repairs to the fencing at a cost of several thousand pounds. Fortunately the damaged grass areas usually self-repair but the tracks and muck created are unsightly and genuine path users and local residents are angry at the noisy anti-social behaviour and damage the scrambler drivers are causing.
“Residents are being asked to report any scrambler incidents to the PSNI,” she commented.
Police have issued a warning to parents and young people about the dangers of quad and scrambler misuse.
And they have stressed that they will take tough action against anyone caught breaking the law, which could result in a heavy fine and the seizure of vehicles.