Police take more active role in patrolling state forests

Reports of motorcyclists riding off road and damaging Quat Quatta and Muwalwa State Forests has led to more active patrols by police in State forests.

Two police from Barooga and Berrigan patrolling in Cottadidda State Forest on the weekend of 23 and 24 July came across four motorcyclists on Saturday.

Three of the riders were registered and licensed and one 15 year old was unlicensed and unregistered and was issued with a warning.

Forestry Corporation operations forester based at Deniliquin, Mick Lalor, said the 15 year old had a Victorian recreation licence, which allowed the riding of motorbikes by licensed people in identified areas in Victoria only, not in NSW.

On Saturday afternoon in Cottadidda State Forest the police came across one four wheeled motor bike which was also unregistered and a warning was issued.

On Sunday a patrol of the Mulwala State Forests presented two unlicensed and unregistered motorcyclists riding off roads and causing considerable erosion to the sand dunes in the area. The riders received a $900 fine each.

On both days the police were also checking firewood permits and a number of warnings were given out. One firewood cutter left the scene before the police returned to check his permit. The cutter left cut wood on the ground.

“We very much appreciate this assistance from the police,” Mr Lalor said.

“After the success of the weekend patrols the Berrigan, Howlong and Barooga police plan to take a more active role when time allows, assisting Forestry Corporation in patrolling State forests,” Mr Lalor said.

He said signs at the entrances of State forests identified activities not permitted.

A State forest has the same legal status as a highway or other roads and streets and the same penalties apply for breaches of the Motor Traffic Act.

“Motorcyclists are encouraged to ride in a safe and responsible manner on formed roads.” Mr Lalor said.

“Through a commonsense and lawful approach a safe and enjoyable forest experience can be achieved for the general public and other forest users.”

Media contact: Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.