AROUND 100 people attended an illegal gathering near Tredegar on Sunday (March 21), Gwent Police have confirmed.
More than 50 vehicles, including bikes and vans, were seen at an address in Georgetown near the St James reservoir at what was thought to be an unlicensed off-road biking event.
Officers attended the scene where two Covid breaches were identified, resulting in fines.
Chief superintendent Mark Hobrough said:
“Illegal off-road biking is never acceptable. It not only causes massive environmental damage to our beautiful countryside but affects the lives of those who live there.
“Under the current alert level in Wales, only certain forms of outdoor activity and exercise are permitted. This is not one of them – as this type of activity is not allowed at any time of the year, unless at licensed premises.
“We’re committed to tackling illegal off-road biking across all areas of the force and we regularly work with our partners, like Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, to tackle this issue.
“Enquiries are ongoing at this time and if you have any information about illegal off-road biking in your community, report to it us via 101 or our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.”
Local ward member, Cllr John Morgan, said the meeting “has caused a lot of concern for the residents”.
Cllr Morgan added:
“Residents were shocked to see the magnitude of the event taking place. There has been massive concern that such an event has been organised.
“There’s without a doubt a need in the heads of the valleys area however this has not got planning permission and the land is not suitable.
“I would support one in a suitable location.”
A spokesman for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said:
“The council is committed to working with partners including Gwent Police to tackle the issue of illegal off-road biking activity in our communities, which impacts on both the landscape and the quality of life for people living close by.
“We fully support the police response to this illegal gathering in Tredegar and will continue to liaise with colleagues over the use of this land for such activity.
“The council’s planning department had already served an enforcement notice through the courts to the landowner, on the basis of the unacceptability of earthworks in a special landscape area which required the ground to be reinstated and restored.
“We will be working with our legal colleagues to pursue compliance with the notice as soon as we are able.”