On the evening of Wednesday 4th September, two riders had driven up the access road to Lee Quarry, in Lancashire to go for an evening ride. They parked in the ‘top’ car park before the quarry gate and while they were getting ready to ride, two cars drove up the access track and blocked off their car. Seven masked robbers then stole their bikes after threatening them with crowbars…
The two riders robbed, both in their 20s were out for an evening ride at about 7pm, both on new bikes they’d both only owned since July, a Trek Roscoe and a Cube Reaction hardtail when they were hemmed in by the robbers’ cars and threatened with crowbars.
We spoke to one of the riders robbed, who gave us this account: “There were four in a red mini and three in a Mitsubishi 4×4. We pulled up at the half way point [up the lane] and were reversing the car in when we saw the two cars coming up the road/dirt path, the 4×4 was leading. They passed off as cars driving past, but the mini reversed back down and pulled up beside us. We thought they were going to be asking for directions or something then the 4×4 reverses back, blocks us in [and] the passengers of the 4×4 exit the vehicle with balaclavas and crowbars and then stole the bikes and made off.”
Obviously, this is terrible for the riders involved, losing brand new bikes and being threatened by masked attackers, but it also has wider implications for the local mountain bike scene. Lee Quarry was set up by Lancashire Council over a decade ago and has been used regularly for events like the PMBA Enduro, evening mountain bike races, demo days and even our own Singletrack Classic Weekender. However, in the fallout from council austerity cuts four or five years ago, the local council stepped back from the day to day managing of the trail.
Fortunately, because it is almost entirely rock, the quarry trails have borne up well over the last five years of neglect, but there have been increasing numbers of motocross riders using it as a playground and stories of suspicious characters and cars in and around the quarry. With stories like this week’s robbery only serving to dissuade riders from visiting the area, it seems that the money and effort that the council had put in is in danger of being wasted. Hopefully some renewed interest in maintaining the area will come from the council – and a few police drive-bys wouldn’t hurt…
Some details: The cars used were a red Mini and a blue/grey Mitsubishi 4×4, both fairly new cars. The Mitsubishi was really badly damaged on the passenger side as well as the rear bumper. The people were wearing balaclavas and tracksuits and waterproofs. If anyone has any info, either call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Rossendale Police.
And needless to say, be vigilant when using the car parks around Lee Quarry.