Wealden and Eastbourne Police are investigating after several attempts to cause harm to cyclists using fishing line strung between two trees at neck level in Paradise Woods and similar incidents in Friston Forest.
On Sunday June 22 a mountain biker came across several strands of fishing line twisted together in Paradise Wood and tied between two trees across a bike track at neck level.
Police said hadthe biker not been vigilant enough to see this in time to stop, he could have been seriously injured. The biker removed the hazard and called the police.
Wealden Police are investigating similar incidents in Friston Forest which are believed intended to cause harm to mountain bikers. But they did not involve the use of fishing wire, police said.
Again, police are looking at various tactics to capture those persons intent on causing harm
Paradise Wood is owned by Eastbourne Borough Council with an agreement in place for a section of the woods to be used for mountain biking. This agreement includes responsible use by the bikers who maintain specific routes for biking separate from the footpaths, and includes regular litter picks by the bikers to maintain good standards in the woods.
Chief Inspector Steve Biglands said: “This incident is being treated seriously as such reckless behaviour has the potential to cause significant injury. Officers have visited the scene and evidence has been taken for forensic examination.
“Signs are being placed in the area appealing for witnesses, and to advise bikers to be cautious, and to warn those responsible that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. “Whilst this is the first incident that we are aware of in these woods, CCTV options are being looked into. These trails are used by cyclists of all ages from the young to more mature and we should be encouraging the shared use of woods for all users in a safe and responsible way. The council have agreed its use and we will look to prosecute anyone intent on causing harm to others. If anyone has seen suspicious activity in the woods, particularly with fishing line, then please contact us on 101 or email email@example.com quoting serial 1416 of 22/06.You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
If anyone is seen setting up dangerous traps then due to the potential for injury witnesses should call 999, Photographs of those responsible would also assist the police.
Police said in the meantime all users should cycle with caution and at a speed that they can see safe to stop in should an obstruction been placed in their pathway.