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Cyclists told they could be trespassing if riding on footpaths after Griff Rhys Jones row

PUBLISHED: 07:30 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:41 25 August 2020

Griff Rhys Jones was infuriated by the cyclists who came through his garden on the Stour to Orwell Walk public footpath at high speeds during lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Griff Rhys Jones was infuriated by the cyclists who came through his garden on the Stour to Orwell Walk public footpath at high speeds during lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Cyclists have been they could be trespassing if they ride on public footpaths - after comedian Griff Rhys Jones vented his frustration at “yobs” pedalling through his Suffolk garden.

Griff Rhys Jones with his mum, Gwyneth, at his home in Stutton where cyclists have been using the public footpath which runs through his garden. Picture: SU ANDERSONGriff Rhys Jones with his mum, Gwyneth, at his home in Stutton where cyclists have been using the public footpath which runs through his garden. Picture: SU ANDERSON

The Stour and Orwell Walk public footpath cuts through Mr Rhys Jones’ land.

The celebrity, who shot to fame on Not the Nine O’Clock News, has put up “no cycling” signs to make clear riders are not welcome.

MORE: Roads and junctions set to be shut as Suffolk boosts walking and cycling

But many ignore the signs - prompting the celebrity to say in an article on a national news website earlier this year: “I want to stop gangs of blowhards in silly, very tight short-sleeved shirts mowing down old ladies tottering off to Evensong.

“But I also feel slightly aggrieved that I have to litter my paradise with signs to protect it from yobs who will ignore them anyway.”

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Asked about the situation in Mr Rhys Jones’ garden, Suffolk Highways - which maintains the majority of the county’s roads and footpaths - said those cycling on public footpaths without permission from landowners are “likely to be trespassing”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Highways said: “Over the last few months, during the Covid-19 lockdown, many road users have been encouraged to take up walking and cycling.

“Since the interest in cycling has increased, Suffolk Highways has received a higher number of reports regarding cycling on public footpaths, particularly on river walls, because of their narrow nature.

“Although it is not an offence to cycle on a public footpath, doing so without permission from the landowner is likely to be trespassing.”

Landowners have also been encouraged to become familiar with the law and warned that erecting barriers is not a legal option to stop unwanted cyclists.

Instead, signs to discourage such use have been suggested or speaking to repeat offenders to avoid future incidents.

It is an offence to cycle on a public footpath if a Traffic Regulation Order, or ‘no cycling by-law’, is applied.

MORE: Is Suffolk really a cycle-friendly county? Don’t make me laugh!


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