BARRIERS are being erected in Wentwood Forest to prevent access to a Bronze Age burial mound which was desecrated by vandals.

Officers from Gwent Police's Rural Crime Team - who will increase patrols in the area - believe 4x4 vehicles and off-road bikes were driven repeatedly up and down the protected monument some time over the Christmas period, turning it into a scarred, muddy bog.


The incident is being treated as a heritage crime due to the burial mound's status as a scheduled ancient monument.

Vehicles have been banned from entering parts of Wentwood Forest since 2009, but earlier this week the Woodland Trust said the area had frequently been plagued by off-road drivers causing damage.

The trust spends around £1,500 a year to try and stop vehicles entering Wentwood, which is Wales' largest ancient woodland.

But following the most recent incident, reported to police on January 6, more work will be done to keep illegal drivers out.

Rural crime officer PC Dan Counsell visited the scene earlier this week with staff from the Woodland Trust and Wales' heritage organisation Cadw.

“Following this site visit, intervention measures are being taken with the immediate installation of physical obstructions by the Woodland Trust, to prevent any further access and damage to the site," said PC Counsell.

"Longer term work will take place to reinstate the mound, overseen by Cadw.

“The Rural Crime Team will be increasing patrols in the area and we will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to prevent any further incidents."

Anyone with information about this incident should contact Gwent Police by telephoning 101, quoting reference 2000006156.

Alternatively, send a direct message to the Gwent Police Facebook or Twitter pages.