CYCLISTS could have been killed after suspected “vigilantes” strung wires between trees at a popular cycling spot.

Sussex Police issued a warning yesterday after they revealed approximately half a dozen trip wires had been discovered strung across paths in Coldean Woods, Brighton.

Cyclists along with walkers and others using the tracks through the woods have been advised to look out for wires strung from the trees.

Mark Strong, a city cyclist and transport consultant with the Transport Initiatives, said he thought the people stringing up the wires may be “vigilantes”.

He said: “It is very depressing, very disappointing. It has been a growing issue in the New Forest and some other parts of the country and it is usually linked to anti-cycling sentiment.”

He added: “Tripwires can be fatal, it is conspiracy to murder – there is no justification for it especially with the children’s events which can happen in Stanmer - this is at the thin end of a wedge of anti cycling sentiment.”

Two incidents of the wires being found were reported to police in the past two days.

Becky Reynolds, campaigns officer of Bricycles, said: “It could lead to fatal injury particularly if it catches the cyclist at neck height.

“This has happened occasionally in the past but the police usually take a firm line. Children might be doing it thinking it is a prank but it isn’t.”

Police officers have been working with Brighton and Hove City Council rangers to remove the wires, and extra foot patrols are being mounted in the area.

Sergeant Alison Penny, of the East Brighton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “These wires appear to have been deliberately placed across paths.

“There is a real risk that someone could run into them and suffer serious injury as a result. It is an extremely foolhardy thing to do and those responsible can expect to be dealt with robustly. Extra patrols are on the look-out for offenders.

“Meanwhile, I would urge people using the woods to take care and also to report any suspicious behaviour without delay.”

Anyone with information should email or phone 101, quoting serial 379 of 29/5 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.