A group of motorcyclists terrorising pedestrians on a public footpath through a supposedly tranquil nature reserve have been caught on camera.
Images were released of three unidentified people riding motocross bikes through land surrounding Scotman’s Flash and missing two members of the public out on a walk by just inches.
The photographs, posted on the “Wigan Wildlife” Facebook page, were taken on Saturday afternoon, during a spell of sunny weather which attracted a number of visitors to the park.
Scotman’s Flash, the largest area of Wigan Flashes, has long been a source of contention for wildlife lovers who blame vandals for having “no regard” for their surroundings.
One witness, who caught the rogue riders in the act, wrote: “Some very strange looking wildlife at Scotman’s Flash this afternoon. If you say anything to them, you just get loads of abuse.”
Speaking to the Post, wildlife enthusiast David Bretherton said that alongside the motocross bikes there were a number of vandals spoiling the countryside in Wigan.
“I’ve seen tents set up, cans of lager consumed and fires lit regardless of how wonderful the surroundings are. It’s local lads causing this- and the off road problem.”
David, who campaigns to protect wildlife in Wigan, is urging people to continue reporting any incidents of off-road bikes being used in the nature reserves to either Wigan Council or the police.
He said: “Barriers fail because they are lifting bikes over the barriers and have also been known to use portable grinders to cut holes through barriers.”
Will Blandamer, Wigan Council’s assistant director for reform and partnerships, said: “Anti-social behaviour in our beautiful greenspaces is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“We are aware of the issues and are currently working with partners to resolve this issue.
“Anti-social behaviour in the borough can be reported to us on our website and also through the Report It app.”
The flashes were formed from old, collapsed mine workings and, after years of being a Wigan eyesore, have been transformed into one of the North West’s most wildlife-rich nature reserves - within walking distance of Wigan town centre.