Caroline Peacock writes:
“Vicky (Chilcott) has asked me to forward this message, which has already been sent to all members of Trailblazers, also to all on the local email list – and some of you will, I think, have seen this very unpleasant incident featured on the local news this evening.”
To: All Members of Hamsterley Trailblazers
Forestry Commission officers have advised us that an extremely serious and dangerous health and safety incident took place last weekend at Hamsterley Forest when a rope was deliberately tied between two trees at cycle wheel height, across one of the Descend Downhill cycle tracks causing a cyclist to crash off his bike. Fortunately the cyclist was wearing full body armour and was not seriously hurt – but he could have been very seriously injured or even killed by this action. The police are involved in investigating the matter. See the webcam the cyclist was running at the time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTvcv6HQZoU
I have been asked to block email all members to draw attention to the incident and to ask you to be extremely vigilant in the forest and look out for anything like this or other trail vandalism. If you do come across incidents of trail sabotage, please do your best to make the trail immediately safe for other users – eg remove any obstacles, rope etc. Please then report the incident to the police and if possible, see one of the Forest rangers or other Forestry Commission staff, letting them know where it has happened and the time you found it. If you can take a photograph of the sabotage area before touching it, that would also be very useful. Please also let me know of any incidents so that as a club we have an idea of what we are facing.
Some of you will remember that when we first built the Grove Link trail we experienced a series of serious trail sabotage incidents – at that time we worked with the police and forest staff to catch the person involved (several members camped out overnight and caught the person red-handed.) I hope we can be as equally successful in catching this person or people.
Whilst we are keen to catch the culprit, we are also keen not to scare people from visiting the lovely woodlands, so the Forestry Commission have asked that we consider the impact of wider scaremongering by accident. Please do consider the message when telling people, the woods are safe, sadly there has been one incident in Hamsterley and we all hope that it is just a one off.
Secretary, Hamsterley Trailblazers