When the Norwegian Environmental Protection Agency (SNO) was going on a mission in Budal in Midtre Gauldal last Saturday, they discovered that their scooter trailers were locked with wire. In addition, wheel bolts were loosened on one of their company cars.
– The police had to cut up the wires to get the scooters out. In addition, we saw that several wheel nuts on one of the cars had a different color. These were “accidentally” also loose, says Ole Morten Sand, responsible for supervision of motor traffic in SNO Trøndelag.
Although Sand is well acquainted with both illegal driving and savage driving, he was surprised by the sabotage.
– Yes, I will. When they start preventing us from doing our job, it becomes a slightly different severity. We’re not looking to catch anyone. We just want this in legal forms.
But this is not the first time SNO Trøndelag has experienced vandalism on its equipment. Last year, their car tires were cut up in Soknedal. The same thing has happened before in Selbu. Elsewhere in the country, too, some have damaged tires and loosened nuts on SNO’s cars.
– A few that destroy too many
So-called pleasure driving is basically not allowed in Norway. Following an amendment to the law in 2015, the municipalities can still allow their own snowmobile trails for such driving. Trøndelag has several approved trails, but none in, for example, Budal, where the weekend’s sabotage was carried out.
– We see that more and more scooters are sold, and they will be used. Last year we had an “all time high” when it comes to illegal driving. It is still early this season, but the tips fall in, says nature conservation Sand.
He says many are happy that SNO performs inspections, because they see that ski trails and hiking areas are being broken. Sand emphasizes that it is small environments that destroy the many.
– I have looked a bit at the comment fields on social media, and it does not look like those who do vandalism get so much understanding among the general public.
Obstacle of public servant
– Illegal snowmobiling is one thing, but it is bad when people start sabotaging those who are to check, says leader of Gauldal police station district, Ole Petter Rustad, to NRK.
– The report is based on an obstacle by a public official, since the trailers with scooters inside were locked again, she says.
On Monday morning, the actual investigation was not yet underway.
Followed the tracks and took the perpetrators
The sabotage in Budal is not the only snowmobile case the police in Trøndelag have had this weekend. On the same day, SNO reported two people for illegal snowmobiling in Flåmarka in Melhus. One tried to escape from the control, and had the scooter confiscated.
On Sunday, the police followed up on tips about illegal snowmobiling in open country from Kvål in Melhus. The patrol found the tracks, and followed them down to the settlement.
There they compared the tracks in the snow with the belts on the scooters they found. Two young men were reported for driving in open country and driving without a valid driver’s license.
Both have been questioned, and both have pleaded guilty.
Not enough resources
Responsible for supervision of motor traffic in SNO Trøndelag, Ole Morten Sand, says they are far from having enough resources in relation to their tasks.
They prioritize which areas they are to control in collaboration with the police and the State Administrator.
– As it is now, a lot is going on. We could stay on around the clock. We think it is very important to try to follow up on the tips we receive.
It can be difficult to assess where a snowmobile track goes, and whether it is illegal. Then it helps a lot with overview pictures from small planes or helicopters: