A barrier has been installed on a Hartlepool footpath in a bid to stop it being illegally used by vehicles.
The heavy-duty barrier has been introduced on the footpath off Dalton Back Lane, and is designed to stop drivers from using it, while clamping down on crime and anti-social behaviour.
It forms part of a convenient 'rat run' between Brierton Lane, in Hartlepool, and Dalton Back Lane, which allows drivers to avoid part of the A689, the main southerly route out of town.
Concerns have been voiced over public safety, and some vehicles using the route are suspected of involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour, according to the council.
A similar barrier will also soon be installed at the end of Macrae Road, in Hartlepool, to stop vehicles using an alternative route to access the footpath.
Chris Scaife, Hartlepool Council’s countryside access officer, has been working closely with local landowners and PC Kieth Robinson, of Hartlepool Police’s neighbourhood team, who has been supported on the project by PCSO Cath Jones and Special Constable Karel Simpson.
He said: “A range of vehicles, including four-wheel drives, motorbikes and cars, illegally use the footpath and we are concerned for the safety of people walking along the route.
"This has been a problem for some time, and it has been a case of coming up with the best way of dealing with it.
“By installing the barriers, we aim to clamp down on illegal access, protect members of the public and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Tata Steel, in Hartlepool, supplied the steel for the barriers for free and PLS Fabrication, a local company based in Mainsforth Terrace, Hartlepool, made the barriers free of charge.
Mr Scaife added: “This has been a real partnership effort with the council, Cleveland Police and landowners working together.
"The backing we have received from local businesses has also been vital to the success of the project and I would like to thank them for their support.”