Sabotage will not be tolerated warning from Hampshire Police ahead of Wiggle Spring Sportive re-run

Postponed second leg of sportive takes place tomorrow entry on the day still available

by Tony Farrelly   May 31, 2013  

New Forest Spring Sportive 2010, the first in the Wiggle Super Series and sponsored by Verenti Bikes

Hampshire police have issued a strongly worded warning ahead of tomorrow's re-run of the Wiggle Spring Sportive, that they will not tolerate any attempts to disrupt the event which is expected to attract up to 2000 riders, the original event in April was marred by bad weather and attempts by some local people to disrupt it.

In a statement issued by Hampshire police, Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson, Police commander for the New forest, said:

“The sportive organisers work closely with us and other organisations in The Forest to make sure they run a safe and well organised, legal event. It’s is not right that people should break the law and try to disrupt it.

“We have been talking to groups and individuals we know that are against the event about how they should conduct themselves.

“I want to make it clear we will not tolerate criminal acts aimed at trying to cause problems for the cyclists taking part or the organisers of the sportive.

“We will be keeping a careful eye on what goes on and will take robust action against anyone disrupting this event.

“We will not accept a repeat of incidents such as tacks being thrown on the road  - this could potentially be very dangerous as it can cause the cyclist to lose control. Last time it was just luck that no one was seriously hurt. Removing or damaging road signs can be equally as dangerous.

"I would urge people whatever their views on the sportive to think long and hard about what they are doing it and what the consequences could be. 


"We support people’s right to lawful, peaceful protest but we will take action against those that break the law.”

Commander Rowlinson also added that the investigation in to the incidents of sabotage and vandalism surrounding the original running of the sportive were ongoing.

Originally held in April the two day event was cancelled due to bad weather on the second day, but not after falling victim to vandalism, and sabotage on the first and attempts by some New Forest residents to form a rolling road block to hold up the riders. Several hundred route marking signs were stolen or vandalised and tacks were spread in the road causing riders to puncture according to the police who also say that they believe injuries were caused.

While we at road.cc have seen no reports of injures to cyclist taking part in the event It was subsequently reported that a local commuter cyclist was hurt when he crashed after puncturing on the tacks while riding to work.

The actions of the saboteurs drew strong condemnation from all sides. Wiggle Spring Sportive organiser, Martin Barden of UK Cycling Events said, “A small minority of people have taken to vigilante lengths to stop the events,” he said. “Their behaviour is unacceptable.”

Ian Wild, chairman of Boldre Parish Council,  described attempts to sabotage the event as “reprehensible” and by many locals including horse riders who pointed out that as well as being a danger to cyclists the tacks posed a risk to animals too. Ironically one of the complaints of those who oppose sportives and other mass rides in the area is that cyclists pose a danger to livestock.  According to the New Forest National Park Authority 70 New Forest ponies are killed by motor vehicles every year - to date we are aware of no recorded incident of a cyclist causing death or injury to livestock or wildlife in the New Forest.

Ahead of the original running of the event, the sportive organisers had sought to placate their local critics by warning riders about their behaviour - in particular the need to abide by the Highway Code and show consideration for other road users, and by limiting the numbers of people taking part.

Online entry for tomorrow's ride which offers a choice of  87 mile or 60 mile routes is now closed but places are available for those that turn up on the day - and the weather forecast is good. For more information visit the event website.

14 user comments

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Good to hear, but what criminal offence could someone who threw tacks on the road be charged with?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1360 posts]
31st May 2013 - 13:13

5 Likes

A Public Order offence for a startoff.

posted by alun [44 posts]
31st May 2013 - 13:54

5 Likes

Do the morons who throw the tacks on the road clean them up after the event is over ? If not surely there is a risk that locals will suffer punctures, both on bikes and in cars.

posted by dreamlx10 [138 posts]
31st May 2013 - 13:57

5 Likes

cat1commuter wrote:
Good to hear, but what criminal offence could someone who threw tacks on the road be charged with?

I'd start with this...
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/137
"If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine"

If anyone were to have an accident, then various levels of "assault" might be applicable, perhaps actual/grievous bodily harm, perhaps wounding with intent. Would depend how brave the CPS were and how much evidence of malice...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [906 posts]
31st May 2013 - 14:36

3 Likes

dreamlx10 wrote:
Do the morons who throw the tacks on the road clean them up after the event is over ? If not surely there is a risk that locals will suffer punctures, both on bikes and in cars.

I am fairly sure that does not even enter their heads to think that far.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [568 posts]
31st May 2013 - 15:57

6 Likes

The complaint about cyclists endangering livestock just make me laugh do they not understand basic physics?? The rider would come off worse so only complete idiots would risk it and those people fall into the realms of the Darwin awards. Good luck to all who ride it and lets hope the f***tards behave themselves.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [467 posts]
31st May 2013 - 15:59

5 Likes

cat1commuter wrote:
Good to hear, but what criminal offence could someone who threw tacks on the road be charged with?

Section 22A of the Road Traffic Act 1988

"22A Causing danger to road-users.(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally and without lawful authority or reasonable cause—
(a)causes anything to be on or over a road, or
(b)interferes with a motor vehicle, trailer or cycle, or
(c)interferes (directly or indirectly) with traffic equipment,
in such circumstances that it would be obvious to a reasonable person that to do so would be dangerous.
(2)In subsection (1) above “dangerous” refers to danger either of injury to any person while on or near a road, or of serious damage to property on or near a road; and in determining for the purposes of that subsection what would be obvious to a reasonable person in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.
(3)In subsection (1) above “traffic equipment” means—
(a)anything lawfully placed on or near a road by a highway authority;
(b)a traffic sign lawfully placed on or near a road by a person other than a highway authority;
(c)any fence, barrier or light lawfully placed on or near a road—
(i)in pursuance of section 174 of the Highways Act 1980, F2. . . or section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (which provide for guarding, lighting and signing in streets where works are undertaken), or
(ii)by a constable or a person acting under the instructions (whether general or specific) of a chief officer of police.
(4)For the purposes of subsection (3) above anything placed on or near a road shall unless the contrary is proved be deemed to have been lawfully placed there.
(5)In this section “road” does not include a footpath or bridleway.
(6)This section does not extend to Scotland.]"

should do it. Wonder how many of the police on duty would know any of this?

posted by spen [87 posts]
31st May 2013 - 16:57

5 Likes

Sod the RTA88 there are more fitting punishments under the CDA 71!

A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.
(2)A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another—
(a)intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged; and
(b)intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered. Smile

posted by carlwhallinon [3 posts]
31st May 2013 - 18:13

5 Likes

Do we have to keep reading Lane71's bile and vitriol? It's like have our own resident YouTube commentator mixed with a Daily Mail troll. You're preaching to the converted Lane71 on many issues, using foul language doesn't given your views any more validity and just promotes huge animosity from any casual visitors to this site.

posted by withnails [92 posts]
31st May 2013 - 18:55

4 Likes

@withnails, no he's been deleted. We really don't like censoring people here but he's been told before.

Sorry Zanf your reply to him as well as all Laine71's 'contributions' has gone too

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4152 posts]
31st May 2013 - 19:29

6 Likes

spen wrote:
cat1commuter wrote:
Good to hear, but what criminal offence could someone who threw tacks on the road be charged with?

Section 22A of the Road Traffic Act 1988

"22A Causing danger to road-users.(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally and without lawful authority or reasonable cause—
(a)causes anything to be on or over a road, or
(b)interferes with a motor vehicle, trailer or cycle, or
(c)interferes (directly or indirectly) with traffic equipment,
in such circumstances that it would be obvious to a reasonable person that to do so would be dangerous.
(2)In subsection (1) above “dangerous” refers to danger either of injury to any person while on or near a road, or of serious damage to property on or near a road; and in determining for the purposes of that subsection what would be obvious to a reasonable person in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.
(3)In subsection (1) above “traffic equipment” means—
(a)anything lawfully placed on or near a road by a highway authority;
(b)a traffic sign lawfully placed on or near a road by a person other than a highway authority;
(c)any fence, barrier or light lawfully placed on or near a road—
(i)in pursuance of section 174 of the Highways Act 1980, F2. . . or section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (which provide for guarding, lighting and signing in streets where works are undertaken), or
(ii)by a constable or a person acting under the instructions (whether general or specific) of a chief officer of police.
(4)For the purposes of subsection (3) above anything placed on or near a road shall unless the contrary is proved be deemed to have been lawfully placed there.
(5)In this section “road” does not include a footpath or bridleway.
(6)This section does not extend to Scotland.]"

should do it. Wonder how many of the police on duty would know any of this?

Actually mate its bread and butter stuff to all cops.
It's what you get taught from day one at training school and stays with you.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2810 posts]
31st May 2013 - 19:53

7 Likes

Not all cops Stumpy, I once took a call at work from a PC who seemed think he'd found some deep secret when he read that it was illegal to drive a car off road without the landowner's permission!

posted by spen [87 posts]
1st June 2013 - 7:42

6 Likes

Just got back from the Forest. Didn't see a single protestor and most of the locals I encountered were friendly. Only had abuse from one chap in a Discovery, looked like one of those weekend locals. All in all a good event and the sun was out!

posted by thx1138 [15 posts]
1st June 2013 - 13:24

7 Likes

Also just got back from the forest, from our regular Saturday training ride from Bournemouth. No sign of angry locals until we hit the same roads as the Wiggle ride. Within 100 metres we came across cyclists taking part in the event spread four/five deep right across a fairly narrow stretch of road on the Boldrewood to Red Shoot road. Despite our shouts of warning none of them moved across to the left, leaving some of our number having to ride off the road/onto the verge.

No apologies offered and new angry locals created

posted by abbeybob [15 posts]
2nd June 2013 - 11:41

6 Likes