Police have issued a warning after receiving reports of motorbikes being used illegally around Andover.

Test Valley officers took the step after reports of motocross bikes being used on private land near Green Lane farm, just north of Upper Enham, including fields and byways.

Officers said they would seize any bikes from riders found driving antisocially on the site, and were working to catch the perpetrators with the landowners and other agencies.

Riding motorbikes off-road is legal, provided the driver has the owner’s consent before doing so. However, riding a bike on any public footpath, bridleway, byway or common land is illegal, with police officers saying that “illegal riding can seriously damage the future of motorsport and recreational access in the countryside.”

In addition to concerns over trespass and criminal damage, police can also charge riders under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, which makes it illegal to use a motor vehicle “in a manner which causes harassment, alarm or distress.”

Noisy exhausts qualify as a factor causing distress to people and animals, and police can seize and destroy vehicles if the rider persistently causes such alarm.

In a statement, Hampshire Constabulary said: “Some people regard this kind of vehicle use as harmless fun. However, regular antisocial vehicle use can have a wider impact on a neighbourhood or community than simply nuisance noise.

“The effect of dangerous or reckless use of a vehicle can lead to criminal damage of roads, other vehicles and surrounding property.

“Drivers and riders also risk injuring themselves, other road users, cyclists and pedestrians as they do not have full control of their vehicle and their full attention on their surroundings.”

Police advise talking to anyone taking part in these activities before getting police involved, which can be done via 101 or their website.

The news follows concerns on social media regarding an individual riding a motorbike on public footpaths around Anton Lakes.