Off-road vehicles have left Wiltshire people fearing for their lives after “dangerously” overtaking each other on shared paths.

A group of around 30 cars, whose drivers are thought to be from Reading, caused havoc to walkers and cyclists this past weekend.

Urchfont resident Nicola Sage had been walking the Redhorn Hill Ridge with a friend when they were suddenly forced to take cover as a convoy of 4x4s sped past.

She said: “It was like literally finding yourself in the middle of a racetrack, the cars were overtaking each other at great speeds and it seemed really dangerous.

“I’ve lived in Urchfont for nearly 12 years and have never witnessed behaviour as bad as this."

"There are people that drive their 4x4s on the ridge however the ones that we normally see drive courteously, they wave, they say good morning. They’re from an official club in Salisbury and phone the Army office every Friday to check if they are allowed to go out.

“But this group apparently had come from Reading. They’ve wrecked the place, glass has been churned up and potholes have become huge.

“They just kept coming and coming and the last three cars deliberately drove through a large pothole to douse us in water. Online, cyclists who had been out this weekend also spoke of “intimidating behaviour” and said the occupants of the vehicles had been shouting abuse out the windows.

In the wake of the incident the HQ Salisbury Plain Training Area posted on Facebook: “Thank you to everyone that passed information to us regarding anti-social / illegal activity over the weekend. Sadly, we are noticing it more and more lately.”

Ms Sage added: “Before this happened we passed an elderly lady with an old dog. Some of the sides of the path are quite steep and we were concerned she might not have been able to get out the way in time. This could so easily get out of control and someone could get killed or seriously injured by these cars.

“The army warden I spoke to said there’s a track that goes past Tidworth and all the way to Warminster, and the army only have a few patrols so could be miles away when this happens.

“If the army needs more manpower, we’ll do it. I know that the nature of the people round here, if there was an appeal for volunteers to turn up at the weekend to help police this then I know they would.”

An MOD spokeswoman told the Gazette: “We are grateful to the majority of those who access Salisbury Plain Training Area for doing so responsible and in accordance with the byelaws.

“This is crucial for the safety of the public and training personnel, as well as protecting the land from damage. In current circumstances it is also vital that everyone follows Government Coronavirus guidance.

“We encourage estate users to report illegal activity. Call 999 for emergencies, but for other suspected illegal activity on Salisbury Plain Training Area, contact the Ministry of Defence Police on 01371 854444. A detachment is permanently based on Salisbury Plain and will respond.”