North Port PD cracking down on illegal ATV riders - WNCT

North Port PD cracking down on illegal ATV riders

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NORTH PORT, FL (WFLA) -

North Port police are keeping an eye out for all terrain vehicles riders. Officials say many are driving around in restricted property, and it's leading to injuries and wildfires.

It's keeping first responders busy and putting a strain on manpower. In the eastern, undeveloped area of North Port you won't find much. A lot of deep pits, muddy holes, and tire tracks.

But to Sean Corbett and Renee Mashke, this is the perfect place to take their family out and ride the ATV.

Mashke said, "Doesn't cost a thing, besides the food. Can't get any better."

Corbett said, "[We] drive around, get lost, try to come back. And then if we get hot, we just drive around in the mud, get stuck, and ask a friendly neighbor that we don't know to get us out."

But they won't be having fun today. As Corbett was preparing to ride, two police officers drove over and told them to go away.

One of the officers said, "Like a lot of things in life, a few people ruin it for everybody."

North Port police have started ramping patrols in the eastern undeveloped areas of town around Yorkshire Street. They'll be on the lookout for ATVs.

Police Chief Kevin Vespia said, "We've identified a problem area and we're gonna go ahead and correct it."

Vespia said there have been a large number of calls in this area.

He said, "If you go out there, you'll see the damage that's been sustained from ATV riding."

Many wildfires have been started here either because of campfires or engine exhaust. Also people have had to be flown to hospitals for injuries. Additionall, all this undeveloped property seems like a great place to hang out, except there's one problem, people actually own this land.

North Port Fire Marshal Michael Frantz said, "It's definitely trespassing."

"Word's getting out. This place is getting very crowded," he added. "We're spending an awful lot of manpower out here."

The police chief says if you're caught riding around in restricted property, you'll be cited. So Corbett and Mashke understand why they have to pack up.

Mashke said, "This is private property so I didn't know that. I thought that the City of North Port owned it, so I totally understand."

But it does dampen the fun.

"It's just..it's a bummer kind of," said Corbett.

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