Sustrans volunteer believes cyclists using path between Littlehampton and Bognor Regis have been targeted deliberately

A Sustrans volunteer has found screws embedded in a £2 million shared use path in West Sussex in what he believes was a “malicious act” aimed at causing harm to cyclists.

The screws were discovered protruding from the surface of the 4.5-kilometre route which runs alongside the A2559 from Bognor Regis to Littlehampton.

The Worthing Herald reports that Adam Bell was clearing the shared used path, which opened in August last year, when he spotted four screws, each protruding between one and two centimetres above the surface.

The screws have appeared during the past month according to Mr Bell, who said: “This was a malicious act.

“They are targeting cyclists or trying to target runners. If someone was running along they could catch their foot and cyclists could be hurt or worse.

"It’s obviously someone who hasn’t got any empathy."

He was able to remove one screw using a wrench, but had to use a claw hammer on the other three.

When he asked workmen if the screws might have been inserted to secure a roadworks sign, they said that they used signs that were free-standing and wouldn’t require fixing.

He had spoken to workmen to see if they could have been put there to fix a sign to the floor, but was told they would use unfixed A-frame signs.

Highlighting other acts of sabotage against cyclists to the newspaper such as tacks being spread on the road or wires being strung across trails, he said: "They are human beings. Just because they are on two wheels rather than four, they are still people."

While he admitted it was a difficult matter to police, he hoped highlighting this particular act could help raise awareness and deter any similar incidents in the future.

The path was funded by West Sussex County Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

When it opened last year, “West Sussex Cycle Forum chairman Geoff Farrell said: “At last – a way to cycle safely between Felpham and Littlehampton!

“The main reason why people say ‘I’d like to ride a bike - but I won’t’ is because cycling is not seen as safe. Separating bikes from vehicles is the only truly safe way.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.