A cyclist was left bloodied and bruised after a wire booby trap deliberately set up to snare riders wrenched him from his bike on a woodland path during lockdown.
Neil Nunnerley, 47, was riding on a path in Cardiff, about one and a half miles from his home in Radyr, shortly before 3pm on Saturday.
He hit a barrier made of wire and branches that was stretched across the trail, injuring his mouth, face and chest.
It comes just weeks after the National Police Chiefs Council warned there would be a spike in vigilante attacks on those who visit beauty spots now the coronavirus lockdown had been eased.
Neil Nunnerley, 47, was left bloodied and bruised after a wire booby trap deliberately set up to snare riders wrenched him from his bike on a woodland path in Wales during lockdown
Mr Nunnerley thinks he was travelling at ‘roughly 15 miles per hour’ at the time of the crash.
He said: ‘The trap was set across the track with woven branches within it that were fixed horizontally. It wasn’t until I saw the branch I realised it was a trap.
‘One of the branches struck me and got lodged in my mouth while the wire caught my chest and the lower of my neck. I was pulled from my bike and fell backwards striking my head on the floor. Thankfully, my helmet saved me.
‘Being a biker, my first reaction was to check the bike. It was then, when I looked down, that the blood started to pour from my mouth.
‘Then the pain hit and the realisation of what had just happened.’
After calling his wife and sending her images of his injuries, Mr Nunnerley rode home, washed his wounds and sought medical assistance.
‘I was more than hesitant to go to the hospital in fear of the virus and the current situation we find ourselves in.
‘My wife called the out-of-hours surgery who forwarded her to the hospital. The hospital assured us that A&E is a safe zone and that I should attend.
‘My injuries include bruising to my chest and neck and a swollen mouth with three stitches.
‘Although my injuries are minor this could have been a lot worse,’ he added.
Mr Nunnerley has been riding in the area for over 30 years but said he had never seen something like this before.
He reported the incident to South Wales Police and went back to the scene accompanied by an officer on Saturday evening but the trap had been removed.
He added: ‘It has been suggested that the person who set the trap may have been close by and may have even been watching.
Another trap was placed across a mountain bike trail on Kilvey Hill, Swansea, during lockdown
‘There are many footpaths in this area and the bikers tend not to ride in those areas.
‘There have been reports of motorbikes riding in the woods but again they tend to ride away from the bikers and walkers.
‘Lots of walkers have been complaining about both bikes and motorbikes that are riding in the woods, but both sets of riders have done this for many, many years.
‘Due to what is happening in the world today, more and more people are out walking for exercise than ever before.
‘Dare I say it, but these people may have not frequented this area prior to lockdown and are now shouting at the people who use this area for biking.’
Mr Nunnerley said he was ‘mending quickly’ and had been for a quick ride on Monday.
He said he ‘isn’t against walkers’ as he walks his dogs in the area himself, but added: ‘Frustrations are high at the moment and people just need to get along, we all need to release our energy and get the exercise where and when we can’.
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: ‘The incident was reported to police at around 5pm on May 23.
‘Officers attended the scene with the cyclist and no wire could be found on the trees or any others nearby.
‘Understandably, some time had passed between the incident and the matter being reported due to the cyclist seeking medical attention at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
‘Anyone with information is asked to please contact South Wales Police.’
In Swansea, another obstacle was found across a trail on Kilvey Hill when a thick branch was placed between two trees at around chest height.
The track has been used by mountain bikers for decades and is a Natural Resources Wales approved course with clear signs and safety measures in place.
However, it appears not everyone is happy with the presence of cyclists on the hill as incidents of ‘trail sabotage’ have increased during lockdown, according to trail volunteer and long-time rider, Scott Pullin.
He said: ‘A log on the corner like that is pretty dangerous, you could kill someone if they were going fast.
‘One of the boys went out early yesterday morning (May 24) and saw the log. He said it was jammed in there hard so there is no way it was accidental.
‘People need to be aware that you can go to prison for a long time if someone was to be hurt or worse.
‘It’s like cutting someone’s brake cables on their car, it’s damage with intent to harm.’
Mr Pullin said there had been damage to signs on the hill recently too and he had reported this to the police along with the trap that was found on Sunday.
Two weeks ago, another rider found branches in the landing area for a jump on the same trail.
In West Yorkshire, a dangerous barbed wire ‘trap’ was spotted on a public footpath yesterday
‘At some point someone is going to get seriously hurt. That one could have been even worse, one guy was lucky not to miss them,’ Mr Pullin added.
‘We have people saying we shouldn’t be going out riding because it might put a strain on the NHS but we are always sure to ride within our limits on familiar trails.
‘Most people are careful, but people need to be more mindful when they’re walking on the hill.
‘We get whole families walking up the bike trails sometimes and we challenge them for their own safety.
‘It doesn’t cross their mind that they might be standing in the middle of the landing for a jump.
‘We don’t know who is doing this but it’s either unhappy walkers or just some unsavoury character.’
Earlier this month, more than 100 drawing pins were found scattered on a bike path – which is also popular with families and dog walkers – in Swansea.
The hazard in Southowram, West Yorkshire, was stretched out across a public footpath on Friday
The trails are maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers who ensure the path is clear and safe for riders and walkers.
In the picture of the latest incidence of ‘trail sabotage’ there is a wooden sign in the background which clearly says ‘Araf – Slow’, warning riders that the trail is about to cross the walking path.
‘It is getting worse during lockdown. It’s not just here, it’s all over the country. In other areas people have used barbed wire and stretched it across the trail,’ added Mr Pullin.
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: ‘I can confirm that damage to signs in the area have been reported to South Wales Police.’
Lauren Fay was en route through Elland Park Wood, in Southowram, Calderdale, when she noticed the hazard. She took to social media to warn others
In West Yorkshire, a dangerous barbed wire ‘trap’ was spotted on a public footpath yesterday.
Lauren Fay was en route through Elland Park Wood, in Southowram, Calderdale, when she noticed the hazard.
She took to social media to urge walkers, cyclists and runners to ‘beware’ when passing through the beauty spot on Friday.
Taking to social media to share her frustration Ms Fay wrote: ‘Came across this barbed wire at about 5.30pm this afternoon. Coming down from St Anne’s Church in Southowram to Binns Top Farm in Elland Park Woods.
Earlier this month, police chiefs warned that furious village vigilantes could attack city dwellers who visit beauty spots as the country eased out of the strict lockdown measures.
Rural police and crime commissioners feared locals would lash out at visitors as they tried to protect their communities from the deadly bug and the National Police Chiefs Council warned of a second spike in vigilante attacks on houses and cars.
Chair of the National Rural Crime Network Julia Mulligan said she was worried villagers would take out their fear of the virus on tourists.