An investigation is underway after a vehicle smashed through five gates in a remote plantation causing thousands of pounds of damage.
Police believe the criminal damage in the Glion Gill plantation, near Greeba, was caused by someone driving a four-wheel drive vehicle between Friday 30 October and Monday 2 November.
The incident was reported by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s upland ranger after he found a gate that is normally padlocked shut, at Beary Mountain, to be wide open.
The driver would have needed to cross private land to enter the plantation and it is believed the vehicle exited using the Governor Loch’s green lane to reach the Brandywell Road.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘The damage will prove costly and is not acceptable.’
‘It has almost certainly been caused by a vehicle driving through them and forcing them to break. In each case the gate and associated retaining posts have been damaged beyond repair and the cost will run into the thousands of pounds.’
Glion Gill is found on the western slopes of Greeba Mountain and served by a new forest road linking all the areas and providing access to the hill for the grazing tenant. The plantation is popular with walkers and mountain bike riders.
The use of motorised vehicles within plantations and land owned by DEFA is prohibited under Forestry Byelaws.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Western Neighbourhood Policing Team on 842208.