POLICE have warned they will seize motorbikes in a bid to stop them being used on heathland.

Officers in Poole said they have been contacted by furious residents following a spate of incidents in the Canford and Bourne Valley areas.

Over the last month, Dorset Police has received five reports of anti-social use of motorbikes on heathland in the two areas.

Now officers have spoken out about the potential risks and the damage caused to the environment.

Inspector Ady Thompson, of Poole Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “As part of Operation Heathland, we are continuing to tackle the issue of off-road bikes being used anti-socially on heaths in our area.

“Officers have been conducting patrols and have put up signs to remind the public that motorised vehicles should not be used on any common land, moorland, land that is not part of a road, a footpath, bridle path or restricted byway.

“The consequences of riding a motorised vehicle over heathlands, which are protected spaces, can be extremely damaging to the environment.

“We are fully aware of the anger and distress this activity causes residents and I would like to reassure the public that we will continue to carry out patrols in the area.

“If officers come across anyone riding a motorbike on the heathland, they will seek to engage with the individual and explain to them the activity is prohibited, as well as dangerous. If they do not comply, officers have the option to seize the bike.”Dorset Police is working with partners within the Urban Heath Partnership to introduce proactive patrols to prevent fire, vandalism and general anti-social behaviour."

Earlier this year the partnership, which is now in its 21st year, introduced drone patrols. Police work alongside colleagues from BCP Council and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Announcing the introduction of the drones, Insp Thompson said: "As around a third of the heathland forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), drones cannot typically be flown over the area. However, with special permission from Natural England, officers will be able to use police drones to help reduce instances of anti-social behaviour."