A nine-year-old boy has sustained a neck injury after cycling into a rope stretched across a path in woodlands in Kent, causing him to fall off his bike.
Kent Police, who are treating the case as one of attempted grievous bodily harm, are carrying out forensic tests on the rope as part of their investigation.
The incident happened at around 5.30pm on Saturday 19 June in woodlands near Wateringbury Road, East Malling, which is close to Maidstone.
Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call police on 01622 604100 quoting reference 46/106535/21, or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
Inspector Elizabeth Jones of Kent Police said: “This incident is being investigated as a case of attempted GBH as the child could have sustained far more serious injuries as a result of this callous act. Thankfully his injuries were not more severe.
“In addition to sending the rope for forensic testing PCSOs have been patrolling the area in an effort to deter further offences and also look out for similar hazards.
“It may be that this was a poorly thought-out prank that went wrong and it would be advisable that the person responsible comes forward to explain their actions.”
As we pointed out last month in a report on traps being laid for cyclists in a park in Glasgow, police often use the word “prank” to describe such incidents, even though they are clearly put there in an attempt to cause injury.
There is also an assumption at times – not referred to in this instance – that such traps are laid by youths, although when perpetrators have been caught, they often turn out to be far older.
Since the first national lockdown began in March last year, we have seen increasing numbers of reports of booby traps including barbed wire, tree branches and even planks of wood studded with nails being set on trails and paths popular with cyclists.
Last year, press watchdog the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) rejected complaints regarding a column in The Sunday Times by Rod Liddle in which he wrote that he found it “tempting” to “tie piano wire at neck height across the road” to target cyclists, with the regulator saying that the article did not infringe the Editors’ Code of Practice.
The Sunday Times had earlier said in response to complaints from the charity Cycling UK, broadcaster Ned Boulting and barrister James M Turner QC, among others, that the column “was not meant to be taken seriously.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.