POLICE are hunting motorcyclists who are putting lives at risk by riding illegally along a local bridleway.
People living along the route, which links Walkeringham and Gringley on the Hill, say they live in fear of a fatal accident as bikers tear along the track.
The bridleway is popular with walkers, horse riders and cyclists but it is not open to motorised vehicles.
Over the last few years local residents have reported motorbikes being ridden recklessly at speeds up to 30 mph.
One section of the route goes through residential gardens, immediately after a blind bend, which is particularly hazardous if bikes are going at high speed.
Notts Police have now launched a crackdown to try and catch the bikers in their tracks.
Resident Dylan Roys said the problem was occasional at first, but is becoming a bigger problem.
“The path goes through our garden and a greatest concern is for our four-year-old daughter,” he said.
“She should be able to enjoy playing freely in her garden, but she has to be brought inside as soon as we hear the motorbikes approaching.”
“It has got to the point where she is terrified at even the distant sound of a motorbike. “
“We also have sheep on our land and they are hard enough to control when it is peaceful, let alone when there is the roar of a rapidly approaching motorbike.”
Mr Roys said bikers are using increasingly dangerous tactics to avoid being caught, like riding without lights at night.
“When we have attempted to stop them they have been abusive, and have even accelerated past us. What gives them the right to behave in that way and to put our lives in danger every time they decide to ride their motorbikes along this track?” he said.
Mr Roys said he and his neighbours were waiting to see if Notts County Council will install a gate or horse stile. But in the meantime they are working closely with the police.
Beat manager PC Nathan Thomas has been monitoring the illegal activity and patrolling the bridleway.
Despite a lull during the winter months, it is now a worry that the motorcyclists will persist now the nights are getting lighter.
PC Thomas said: “What these motorcyclists are doing is potentially lethal.”
“Not only does it present a danger to the neighbouring residents but also to legitimate users of the bridleway, such as walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers.”
“Many pedestrians use this trail because it is a safer alternative than walking alongside some of the local roads that link the villages.”
“They would not expect to be sharing the bridleway with fast-moving motorcycles, but, on occasion, that is what is happening.”
He reiterated that it riding or driving a motorised vehicle on a lane other than a road was an offence, and also suggested some of the riders might not have licences, insurance or tax.
CCTV footage has now been gathered and Notts Police are appealing for anyone who can identify the culprits to get in touch.
If you can help, or if you see any illegal driving on the bridleway, call PC Thomas on 101, extension 807 7361.
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Do YOU live near the affected bridleway? Have you had any close encounters with the motorcyclists? We want to hear from you. Call the Gainsborough Standard on 01427 615323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org