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Off-road motorcycles causing ‘devastation’ according to Lancashire farmer

A Lancashire sheep farmer has spoken out about the plague of off-road illegal motorcycles destroying the moors in Lancashire

illegal off-road motorcycles

OFF-ROAD illegally ridden motorcycles are being blamed for ruining moors, damaging the prospects or grazing sheep, and potentially harming wildlife by a Lancashire farmer.

First reported in The Lancashire Telegraph, the sheep farmer who grazes her flock in the Rossendale Valley has spoken about a plague of grown men on motorcycles and 4x4 off-road vehicles descending on the area.

The unnamed farmer’s family has been raising the upland flock of sheep in the area for generations, although now her livelihood and heritage is at risk thanks to the selfish actions of a few off-road motorcycle owners.

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She said:

“My family has farmed the same farm and moorland for generations and it is now facing hugely unprecedented times and is under a threat of no longer being home to grazing livestock at all.

“The biggest issue our uplands face is it is treated as a playground for grown men to travel to, along with their motocross bikes, 4x4’s, and friends.

“They spend their days and evenings shredding our poor moorland to pieces. This problem has grown in popularity over the last 10 or so years and the increase in mainly adult men using our moorland to exercise their motocross bikes has now reached an overwhelming statistic.

And it’s not just the flock of sheep at risk from the damage left by the criminals. The farmer also reports that the area is home to a number of bird species, including the Twite. It’s a small Sparrow-like bird and currently has Red UK conservation status and is protected by The Wildlife and Countryside act of 1981.

The farmer added:

“I have lambs only hours old separated from their mothers and completely lost- orphaned. Only the lucky lambs who are heard crying for their mothers are found, yet again by their shepherd or a kind rambler. The unlucky ones look death in the eye as the cold causes hypothermia and their body shuts down.

“Other farmers on our moorland have had their cattle ‘rounded up’ in a game by the bikers. One particular calf, only days old ended up with a broken leg. But after much treatment and encouragement, it healed and the calf grew. Again, even with a positive ending, this shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

“Contrary to popular belief these hills are not 'wasteland' which no one owns nor cares for. They are home to some of the most environmentally friendly beef and lamb for generations, reared on land which cannot support any other kind of agriculture or serve any other productive purpose.”