Omagh mountain bikers speak out over Gortin Glen traps

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Media captionRopes and fishing line have been found attached to trees

Mountain bikers using Gortin Glen near Omagh have reported that they are encountering dangerous obstructions across their trails.

Omagh mountain biker Noel Mullen, who uses the glen's trails, said the first traps began to appear about a year ago.

At first, mountain bikers found trees had been pulled across the trails.

But more recently, ropes and fishing line have been found, some tied at head height.

"We would be coming down the trails at 20 mph and there's no way you'd see the fishing line until it's too late, until it gets you," Mr Mullen said.

"If it hit you in the throat and you were going at 20mph, it would seriously hurt you, it would slice you open.

"They are traps, we've been through a few but luckily none of them have got us at head height. Nobody's been injured yet, but it's only a matter of time."

Mr Mullen said the mountain bikers have no idea who is behind the traps but said they were encountering them on a regular basis.

"We were out on Thursday night and we took down four of these cheese wires as we call them," he said.

"The boys were back again on Saturday and they were all back up again. Whoever's doing it, they're out there fairly regularly, they're intent on stopping us from mountain biking out there.

"It's a popular sport, on a Thursday night there could be up to 50 people out there using these trails. The forest is there for people to use. The council need to develop the mountain biking tracks, and have specific mountain biking tracks designated and maintain them and look after them."

Outdoor Recreation NI is tasked by the tourist board and the Department of Arts, Culture and Leisure to develop mountain bike trails across Northern Ireland. Although the mountain bike trails at Gortin Glen are not official, spokesperson Chris Scott condemned the incidents.

"It's absolutely ridiculous. It's really hard to see what those people are setting out to achieve from that sort of activity," he said.

"It doesn't bear thinking about what injury that could actually do to someone. Putting up fish wire and such like is just disgraceful behaviour."