Mountain bikers warn 'lives are at risk from medieval-style' traps placed on Peak District trails

Glass left on tracks and sticks smeared with dog faeces reportedly used to obstruct cyclists

Conrad Duncan
Friday 12 July 2019 11:09
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Police have said they are aware of reports of alleged trail sabotage in the Peak District and take such reports 'very seriously'
Police have said they are aware of reports of alleged trail sabotage in the Peak District and take such reports 'very seriously'

Mountain bikers have warned their lives are being put at risk by “idiots with a vendetta” placing “booby traps” on popular trails in the Peak District.

Reports of branches placed at head height, drawing pins and glass laid on tracks, and sticks with dogs faeces smeared on them appearing across trail paths have all emerged recently.

Police have said the alleged sabotage, which is thought to have been perpetrated by people who are angry with cyclists in the area, has the "potential to cause serious injury".

“Our officers are aware of reports of alleged trail sabotaging and take all reports of this nature very seriously,” South Yorkshire Police said.

Chris Maloney, a cyclist who has campaigned to raise awareness of the issue, described the saboteurs as “idiots with a vendetta” who want to “stop people cycling and enjoying the outdoors”.

“If someone sees these obstacles late and comes off their bike then this could cause very serious injuries or even put people's lives at risk. It needs to stop,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“I’ve seen photos of medieval-type spikes being put on the outside of bends, what on earth is going through people’s heads to do something quite so vicious and nasty-minded?”

Mr Maloney noted some residents have objected to the speed of cyclists going through the area but said he did not know who was behind the alleged traps.

However, he called on anyone who is frustrated with mountain bikers to discuss the issue.

“If the people sabotaging the trials have an issue then I would like to invite them to one of our meetings to discuss this, rather than setting traps that can hurt people,” he said.

Dexter Johnstone, secretary of the Cycle Sheffield group, condemned the behaviour and told the Sheffield Star that the people involved should be arrested and prosecuted for the traps.

South Yorkshire Police are encouraging anyone who has come across evidence of trail sabotage, or any suggestions of it taking place, to report it to police via 101.

The incidents in the Peak District are some of a number of recent examples of apparent sabotage across the country.

Earlier this month, a man said he discovered a plank of wood, hidden beneath soil, with more than 100 nails embedded in it while riding a mountain bike trail in south Wales.

In May, cyclists in Shropshire repeatedly found drawing pins left on a road, in what appeared to be a deliberate act of sabotage aimed at bike riders.

Cyclists in Sheffield have also called for a boycott of a local magazine, The Grapevine, after the editor joked about an “old chum” wanting to string up razor wire to decapitate riders.

Mr Maloney described the piece as a “nasty little piece of bile” and encouraged advertisers to withdraw from the magazine.

The editor, Ian MacGill, was unrepentant over the article and told the Guardian the editorial was “a piece of whimsy”.

“Tell people who complained that I’m probably going to recommend landmines next time,” he added.

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