Levenmouth off-road menace campaign continues

Claire Baker MSP and Shelagh Cooper whose dog Millie was killed by an illegal off-road biker in March 2015
Claire Baker MSP and Shelagh Cooper whose dog Millie was killed by an illegal off-road biker in March 2015

The campaign to tighten the laws surrounding off-road bikes and quads is continuing, with support from a local MSP determined to see change.

And as part of her campaign, Claire Baker has visited the site in Methil where Millie the dog was cruelly knocked down in March of this year.

The visit, with owner Shelagh Cooper, took place as Ms Baker reiterated her call for action to be taken.

Since first hearing about the issues caused by the anti-social and often illegal use of these types of vehicles, including concerns for public safety and the cost of damage caused, Ms Baker has visited locals and farms in the area and has raised the issue directly with the Scottish Government, including meeting with the Minister for Community Safety.

The MSP has also held a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament where she called for action from the Scottish Government and gained cross-party support for her motion.

Ms Baker said: “Since the issue was first raised, I have been campaigning to ensure action is taken to tackle the reckless and menacing behaviour of some people in the area on quad bikes and single person operated vehicles.

“The death of Shelagh Cooper’s dog was a cause of great distress to Shelagh and I am campaigning to make sure nobody else will have to live through that by ensuring action is taken.

“The police, to their credit, have introduced initiatives to attempt to tackle the problem but they are working with one hand tied behind their back. They need more tools in their box to deal with such problems and the strengthening of fixed penalty notices is one way to tackle this behaviour.

“That is why I have raised the issue with the Scottish Government in Parliament and I will continue to do so until the problem is resolved.”

She has already met with Community Inspector Tom Brown to discuss what measures can be put in place to tackle the problem, and local initiative Operation Ducati was launched earlier this year.

Recognised to be a Scotland-wide programme, it was re-named Operation Reflector in and rolled out nationwide.

Community sergeant Robert Gassner told the Mail that, over the last three months, there had been a marked reduction in the number of calls received about the issue, compared with the same period in 2014, while there had been an increase in the number of people reported for offences. “(This) suggests the pro-active approach taken by the police in Levenmouth is helping to provide the residents a safe place to live,” he said.

“Officers will continue to tackle the issues arising from the use of motorbikes off road. Reflector was implemented to focus attention on this particular problem in conjunction with officers tackling antisocial behaviour and road safety.”

Sgt Gassner also noted that additional officers on specific patrols dedicated to reducing the opportunity of illegal off-roading were in place at weekends.