Illegal off road drivers hunted by the police

The abandoned 4x4 at East Ayncliffe Woods, near Glaisdale. Picture: Matt Fitzgerald

The abandoned 4x4 at East Ayncliffe Woods, near Glaisdale. Picture: Matt Fitzgerald

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Police are hunting the drivers of 4x4 vehicles whose illegal off road driving caused significant damage to an idyllic woodland path.

One of the vehicles was later abandoned after it became trapped.

The incident in East Arncliffe woods, near Glaisdale, on Sunday, May 26, has angered local residents and users of the public bridleway, said Matt Fitzgerald, a North York Moors Park Ranger.

“I was appalled when I first came across the vehicle – not only was the ground badly churned up where they had attempted to free the vehicle, but numerous historic trod stones were smashed and scraped,” he said. “Trees had been damaged and even uprooted through attempts to recover the vehicle.”

The bridleway, which makes up a stretch of both the Coast to Coast and Esk Valley Walks, is in woodland designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Mr Fitzgerald said this latest incident is one of many where irresponsible 4x4 owners have caused significant damage in the National Park. “While there are 4x4 owners who drive legitimate routes responsibly, there is still a minority who have no respect for where they can and cannot drive these vehicles, and their selfish actions can cause a great deal of damage and upset,” he added.