By Debbie James

Off-road biking on a Welsh mountain has left graziers fearful for the welfare of their livestock.

In the latest incident at Mynydd Carn-y-Cefn in Ebbw Vale, seven sheep escaped onto a busy road after motorcyclists cut high-tensile steel fences to gain access and the animals were killed when they were hit by cars.

The level of off-road biking on the mountain is escalating and graziers want police and the council to take action.

Margaret Lloyd, who is a member of the Mynydd Carn-y-Cefn Graziers' Association and who farms the highest holding on the mountain, has previously challenged bikers.

“They sometimes arrive in van loads and go up the back of my property,’’ said Mrs Lloyd, who has farmed there for 45 years.

“On one occasion I was walking my dog and I confronted them about the mess they were making. They came right up to me on their bikes and said some pretty horrible things. I did feel threatened.’’

Off-road biking had scarred the landscape with deep tyre tracks and destroyed grazing habitats, she said.

Her husband, Monty, who passed away in January, was the third generation of his family to farm on the mountain.

“The problems we are having on the mountain have been getting worse and worse over the years,’’ she said.

But the bikers are not the only culprits.

Fly tipping is a major issue too – in a recent incident a fence was cut to allow a digger to pass through with a bucket full of garden waste.

This has implications not only for livestock health and welfare but for the environment too.

Mrs Lloyd said although police had blocked off some of the access points they seemed powerless to prevent criminal activity on the mountain.

To deter off-road biking, she believes bikes should be confiscated and tougher penalties introduced.

Mynydd Carn-y-Cefn Graziers' Association wants the council to repair the fences but Blaenau Gwent council said it was not solely a council issue, that it required the co-operation of livestock owners and members of the community too.

Mynydd Carn-y-Cefn is not the only common being targeted.

The South East Wales Uplands Natural Resources Management Plan which dates back to 2015 references damage to habitats from motorbikes and 4x4 vehicles and fences being cut on several commons in that region.