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Quad bike riders accused of 'lack of respect' after riding on Lenham chalk cross war memorial near Maidstone


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Off-road bike riders have been accused of a "lack of respect" after being seen riding across a war memorial.

Photographs taken by an eyewitness show the vehicles being ridden on the Chalk Cross cut into the North Downs at Lenham, near Maidstone, yesterday afternoon.

Quad bikes seen on the Lenham Chalk Cross war memorial
Quad bikes seen on the Lenham Chalk Cross war memorial

Michael, who did not wish to give his full name, was shocked by the "lack of respect" shown towards the memorial.

He was walking on the Pilgrims Way when he was almost hit by a quad bike, one of four off-road bikes seen being ridden in the area.

"As I was walking away down a field footpath, I saw them up on the cross," he said. "They first circled it a few times and were in the field behind the cross.

"Some drove back to the path and then drove up the centre of the cross, leaping off at the top of the cross area into the fields.

"I have seen motorcycles on this path before, but only passing through. I have since found out a person was nearly hit by a quad and their dog was killed.

The chalk cross at Lenham. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The chalk cross at Lenham. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"It’s a well visited spot by families and walkers. Thankfully there were not too many people, especially children, around."

The 188ft-high cross is a Grade II listed monument, which is dedicated to 56 people who died in the First and Second Word Wars.

In 1977 the dedicatory stones which were at the foot of the cross were moved to the north entrance of Lenham church.

This was to enable surviving relatives of the men named on the stones to continue to visit as they were getting too old to climb up the hill.

In 1983 the cross was renovated with 40 tons of chalk.

A Remembrance Day service at the cross in 1930
A Remembrance Day service at the cross in 1930

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Police received a report that a group of four off-road motorcyclists were riding in an anti-social manner in the area of the Pilgrims Way, Lenham, at 1.19pm on Saturday.

"The local PCSO is conducting inquiries around the incident."

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