Pasco Sheriff's Office cracks down on ATV trespassers - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco Sheriff's Office cracks down on ATV trespassers

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The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on trespassers on private lands.

One particular problem area is a 300 acre property in Hudson.  Trespassers on ATVs and trucks have destroyed much of the area.

Corporal Gennis Folsom is in the environmental crimes unit at the Pasco county sheriff's office.   He points out a large body of water surrounded by sand.  He says, "This should be a small little wet weather pond with nice green pastures around it."

Now it is a huge mud hole that was created by overuse of off road vehicles.

Folsom says if you ride an ATV or a truck in the same area two or three times, it destroys the grass.

Folsom says this is the busiest time of year for this problem because of school being out for summer break.

When trespassers are caught on this property, Folsom says he often hears the same excuse. "They didn't realize they weren't allowed to be out here," Folsom said.

According to the sheriff's office, land that is not posted private property doesn't mean anyone can go on that land.

"Basically if it's not your property and you don't have permission to be on it, it's illegal," said Folsom.

The sheriff's office will often give a warning to first time trespassers. But they can make an arrest as well.  Trespassing is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Besides the damaged caused by off road vehicles, some have made this place their personal dump. Tires, broken glass and even an old mattress are scattered around the property.

The sheriff's office says they are stepping up their patrols on private lands and even using trucks, ATVs and a helicopter to catch the trespassers in the act.




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