A recent incident on the marsh has brought Anti-Social Behaviour towards birders and the attention of local police. There is an increasing problem with off-road bikes/scramblers and quad bikes. The persons involved have torn down fences and driven across No.6 tank which is potentially life threatening. All of these active tanks have a seemingly hard surface but inches below are metres of very soft ground/sludge. The use of vehicles on any area tanks carries a potential risk and threatens the fine balance of breeding/wintering wildlife here. The construction site on No.4 tank is also a working area and with any area that is in active use is also a potential danger. None permitted vehicles are also a great nuisance on No.4 tank and threatening the breeding success of birds that are also competing with site construction disturbance.
The people involved with off-road vehicles have threatened one birder and attempted to take their camera and damage their car, when they were asked to leave the area.
The tanks are private land, owned by the Manchester Ship Canal Company. It has a tenant farmer at Marsh Farm and another which is Peel Holdings, the company who are erecting the wind farm. As far as we are aware, the tracks are ex-roads which are now public rights of way. It is an offence to use scrambling bikes or quad bikes and they can be seized and confiscated ‘pursuant to police reform act 5.59’. This goes for any off-road vehicles including four-wheel drives, including those that are used to transport scrambling bikes and quad bikes.
The police force who is directly responsible for the site are ‘The Port of Liverpool Police’. They are asking that anyone who witnesses scrambling bikes or quad bikes being ridden anywhere on Frodsham Marsh, tracks or tanks, to do the following:
- Note time and date, take vehicle registrations if possible and photographs if safe to do so. Don’t put yourself into a confrontational situation where you could risk injury or damage to your car.
2. Call Cheshire Police on 101. Tell them there is an illegal off-roading happening and get a police incident number. Ask them to attend if necessary. They might tell you that it is private land and a civil matter, but that is incorrect. They still have a duty to act.
3. Call the Port of Liverpool Police on 0151-949 1212 and/or email Sergeant Ian Howse on firstname.lastname@example.org Give them the incident number.
4. Let Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society (CAWOS) http://www.cawos.org/ know or leave a comment at the bottom of any FMBB post.
It is important that anti-social behaviour is reported soon after any incident otherwise it could become a bigger problem. In similar incidents, the Port of Liverpool Police have seized hundreds of vehicles at considerable cost to the perpetrators.
The breeding season will soon be upon us. It is also a criminal offence to willfully disturb wintering/breeding birds. For further information check out Birders Against Wildlife Crime: http://birdersagainst.org/ .