A councillor has said the use of off-road vehicles like scramblers and quad bikes is “completely, totally out of control” in open spaces in Merthyr Tydfil. At a neighbourhood services scrutiny committee meeting councillors spoke of their concerns over the dangers of off-road vehicles such as scramblers and quad bikes and their impact on the environment.

Councillor Clive Jones said it was “completely totally out of control”, saying there was a lovely grassed area in his ward at the bottom of Vulcan Road hill but that scramblers loved coming down it. He mentioned a couple of examples of scramblers he had seen travelling across the grass verge and said he’d approached the police more than once but he said the answer was that they could not do anything and that the riders knew that.

“I just think it’s diabolical,” he said, adding: “This is a matter which should be raised at the highest level with the police because if it’s happening in Merthyr Tydfil it’s happening elsewhere and it cannot continue.” Cabinet member for neighbourhood services, Cllr David Hughes, said the council had written to the chief inspector of Merthyr on more than one occasion who said officers couldn’t chase riders but they had a helicopter up regularly.

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Cllr Hughes added: “They don’t seem to want to find them which is a sad situation.” He later said the police and crime commissioner had been spoken to as well. Cllr Jones suggested they raise it at the chief constable’s level, not just the local inspector, and he later added that it was damaging the environment.

He said: “It can’t go on. They are a danger. They are a danger to themselves, they are a danger to pedestrians, and I wouldn’t mind finding out how many near-misses or injuries have occurred to members of the public because they feel they can do absolutely anything at the moment.” He also said: “These scramblers and quad bikes should not be on the road because they’re not licensed to be on the road.”

He said there were going to be injuries and deaths because they shouldn’t be there. Cllr Paula Layton said when they were on council land and were constantly ripping up the good work that was being done the funding for that work was being wasted. To get all the latest Merthyr Tydfil news straight to your inbox sign up to our newsletter here.

She said councillors were trying to find information to feed back to the police and it was going to take them all to deal with the problem. Council officer Gill Hampson said they needed to know where in the borough the scramblers were and then work out why they were using those sites and she said generally they were sites that were not being used by lots of people.

She discussed the idea of having an area dedicated for scramblers where they could go but said she didn’t know if this was possible or not. She also said that it looked like they were coming from outside the area because of posts on social media telling them to come over.