Illegal ATV riders destroying bird sanctuary in New Haven - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Illegal ATV riders destroying bird sanctuary in New Haven

Posted: Updated:
Illegal ATV riders ripping up a bird sanctuary for years and neighbors say it's now getting worse. (WFSB) Illegal ATV riders ripping up a bird sanctuary for years and neighbors say it's now getting worse. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Neighbors in New Haven told Eyewitness News all-terrain vehicle riders are ripping through a bird sanctuary on the outskirts of town.

Residents said the illegal riding has been going on for years at New Haven's Bishop Woods Bird Sanctuary, but it’s getting worse. With summer around the corner, residents told Eyewitness News they're expecting an uptick.

"With the nicer weather coming, it’s been after school, mostly on the weekends, Saturday and Sunday,” New Haven resident Ian Crandall said. “But, now it's pretty much whenever it's nice out."

New Haven's Bishop Woods Bird Sanctuary is 40 plus acres of trees and trails. On Monday, Eyewitness News spotted plenty of ATV tire tracks.

"These individuals were back here yesterday, even louder, going 10 minute bouts at a time,” Crandall said.

Crandall's home backs up to the park and he said it’s an ongoing battle.

He said he's called the police and the city parks department, and even took video of the riders in action.

It’s not just at the New Haven's Bishop Woods Bird Sanctuary, police said, adding that it’s a city-wide problem. Officers have been cracking down on the illegal riders, known to weave their way in and out of traffic.

"This is not a problem that's going to go away this summer,” New Haven Police Officer David Hartman said. “It will reappear every time it gets warmer, so we really need the help of the general public."

While the city has a no chase policy, its asking for residents to let them know where the bikes are being stored, along with the color, so they can build their cases and eventually confiscate them.

"Yesterday we confiscated a bunch and I know there was a lot of intel, the pending arrests of a few more just from that day,” Hartman said.

With more arrests possible, neighbors such as Ian Crave are hoping for a return to peace and quiet in their neighborhoods.

"It’s very aggravating because if you're just quiet here,” Crave said. “You just hear the birds and with this going on it’s so loud, so annoying and actually pretty dangerous too."

While police have a task force, they need the public's help, stressing that if you hear the ATVs and dirt bikes, call police right away.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.