THUGS are putting lives at risk by stretching fishing wire across tracks used by off-road cyclists.

Sussex police are investigating an attempt to injure riders after finding wire strung between trees at neck height.

On Sunday a mountain biker came across several strands of fishing line twisted together and tied between two trees across a bike track. He removed the hazard in popular beauty spot Paradise Woods, near Eastbourne,and called the police.

A police spokesman said: “Had the biker not been vigilant enough to see this in time to stop, he could have been seriously injured.”

The woods are owned by Eastbourne Borough Council with a section specifically set aside for mountain bikers.

Sussex Police said this was the first incident of this kind they had been made aware of.

Any cyclists or passers-by who discover the traps are being asked to photograph them before they are removed.

Chief Inspector Steve Biglands said: “This incident is being treated seriously as such reckless behaviour has the potential to cause significant injury.

"Signs are being placed in the area appealing for witnesses, and to advise bikers to be cautious.

Becky Reynolds, of the Bricycles cycling campaign, said: “We heard about this and we think it is a very dangerous thing to do and it could even lead to a death.

“We hope the police take this very seriously and we hope someone can help them catch whoever did this.

“With the wire at neck level, where the spine, throat and major arteries are, it would cause some serious damage if someone hit it.”

A cyclist, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It is a shocking and ridiculous thing to do - it could not only get cyclists but runners, walkers, people with their dogs - anyone.

“You would have to be mad to do it and especially as the area is designated for cyclists.”

“You are going to injure, maim or kill someone and you would change someone's life and lives of their family drastically if they were caught by it”

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1416 of 22/06.