Police Launch Salisbury Plain Crackdown On Illegal Vehicles
By warmyinwilts | Monday, May 21, 2012, 20:37
Ministry of Defence Police have been out in force on Salisbury Plain to tackle the problem of vehicles illegally driving across the Defence Training Area.
Only military vehicles allowed on Salisbury Plain ranges
Officers have teamed up with Wiltshire Police, Royal Military Police, Training Area Marshalls and Landmarc Land Wardens for the action.
On a recent Sunday, a total of 35 vehicles were checked leading to 12 people being issued with fines and one motorcycle seized for being ridden without insurance.
Sergeant Mark Venning, the MOD Police senior officer for Salisbury Plain, said: "The vast majority of Salisbury Plain is owned by the MOD and it is regularly used for military exercises.
"The public are allowed access and vehicles are permitted but only if they stick to the numerous marked byways and official tracks and they must be fully road legal including insurance.
"No vehicles are allowed to leave these rights of way, primarily for range safety reasons. But unfortunately we have been receiving more and more reports of motorists and bikers going off-road.
"This is an operational military training environment so this clearly presents a safety issue, but there is also the fact that 20,000 hectares of grassland on the Plain have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.
"We have had reports that damage has been caused to this environment by these unauthorised vehicles and motorbikes driving across the grasslands and in the woods."
He added that the recent weekend operations would be the beginning of a number of planned MDP responses to get the message across about illegal driving on the Plain.
"MOD land on Salisbury Plain is subject to a range of byelaws which are posted on all access points so there should be no excuses for ignorance," he said.
"These byelaws also give us powers of arrest for offences and allow us to remove vehicles and other property if they are being misused."
Anyone with information about illegal activity on Salisbury Plain can call Plainwatch on 01980 674700.