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The thin length of wire was found yesterday on the course, at "about the level of a six or seven-year-old's neck"...

A wire has been strung across a mountain bike course in Belfairs Wood, near Southend, in a prank that "could have easily killed someone", locals say.

The thin length of wire was discovered yesterday (10 August) by Hadleigh Mountain Biking Club member, David Murray, stretched across a path some mountain bike riders approach at speed.

The Club’s chairman Chris Hyde, from Leigh, is reported by the Echo as saying: “It goes without saying it’s utterly disgusting behaviour and dangerous to anyone who uses the woods".

“The height of it looks to be about the level of a six or seven-year-old’s neck while riding a bike, but this would have been dangerous to anyone cycling down there, or even the horse riders that use the woods.

“It’s beyond unthinkable that anyone could do that.”

Richard Toomey of the Comfy Saddle, a cycle hub at Southend Railway Station, told the paper he had cycled in the woods yesterday afternoon.

He said: “You would hope that you’d see something like that but who’s to say with a piece of wire?

“I can only hope that this was the work of some children who will change course when they realise what they’ve done.

“Thankfully the cycling community is very strong in Southend and I think people will keep an eye out, as will dog walkers and others, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Local councillor, Stephen Aylen, has promised to speak to the council's parks department about the incident.

He said: “I know there are some people who are fed up the paths being used by motorbikes, quadbikes and some mountain bikers who come down there at speed, but this is not the way to deal with it.

“I’m very worried that this has happened because it could easily kill someone and you have children cycling down there.”