CONCERNED residents want to up the ante and find the menace who has been setting up booby traps in Hockley Woods.

The latest incident saw logs being deliberately placed across paths to deter cyclists from using the trails.

The Echo has reported numerous incidents over the last few months, including food left out to poision dogs.

Residents are becoming increasingly concerned and fear a cyclist, child or animal will be badly hurt - or worse.

Charles Joynson, 57, who lives Rayleigh, said: “Someone has been very busy in Hockley woods. I counted 65 logs on this path so it must have taken some effort.

“If a bike rider got badly injured by this kind of thing the person who did it might find themselves in very deep water with a large fine or even a prison sentence"

Residents who regularly use the woods are calling for action to taken as they feel someone could soon come to very serious harm.

Sam Keeling, 39, who lives in Rochford, added: “I'm just back from the woods with a friend and we moved at least ten large logs including a tree stump from a track we were walking down.

“It's a real pity that people have so little in their lives other than to try and do others harm. Can't understand it at all.

“Some of the logs have been so well bedded down and disguised that a small child would badly hurt themselves if running along and tripped on one. It’s absolutely deliberate and no way it's the wind.”

Val Davies, 55, Hockley, is worried that not just cyclists, but children could be hurt by the latest traps.

“It is not only cyclists that are affected by this, old people, mothers with buggies, runners, everyone. Don't understand why anyone would want to spend their time causing all this hassle.”

Jo McPherson, portfolio holder for Environment, said: “Woodland staff regularly inspect the paths, but have been substantially busy this week following the high winds.

“The council has also made it clear that, with appropriate evidence, action will be taken against anyone found to cause harm, or intent on causing harm to any user of our open spaces.

“Council officers recently met with local cyclists, advising them there is a far more suitable purpose built amenity at Hadleigh.”

She added: “Can I also reiterate that cycling is not a permitted activity under the bylaws of Hockley woods. If any cyclist chooses to ignore these bylaws then they do so at their own risk.

THE issues at Hockley woods started in October with numerous reports of dog poisoning, which was soon followed by reports of booby trapping.

We told how dogs were killed after eating food laced with poison left in public places across the Rochford district, with Hockley Woods being one of the main locations Slug pellets and ibruprofen were been found mixed in with food and worried dog owners want the culprit to be found.

At the beginning of last month Rochford District Council asked cyclists to keep off paths in Hockley Woods after booby traps were set.

Camouflaged logs were being deliberately placed across paths, on blind corners in an apparent protest at cyclists using the trails.

One cyclist was hospitalised with concussion after riding round a blind bend and into a trap recently.

A spokesman for Rochford District Council then reminded cyclists that cycling was not permitted in the woods, and requested they go to more appropriate locations such as the tailor-made mountain bike tracks at Hadleigh.