LIGHTER nights, improving weather and an upcoming bank holiday should not encourage residents to make unnecessary trips outside, Hexham’s MP has warned.

Rural residents throughout the district have raised concerns over the increased number of biker groups roaring through villages, flouting the Government’s advice to stay at home and only travel if essential.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman has contacted Northumbria Police to request a visible and active patrol presence on the B6320, the Chollerford to Kielder road, on the A68 north of the Errington roundabout and on other biker hot spots in Tynedale.

Mr Opperman said: “If we each take our responsibilities seriously, then the better we are able to protect our NHS and the quicker we will be through this very challenging period.”

Northumbria Police confirmed its officers will be patrolling the district's rural roads over the Easter weekend to prevent non-essential travel.

Last week, Forestry England said workers stopped a vehicle well within Kielder Forest where the vehicle had passed large signage saying ‘Forest Drive Closed’ as well as other signs saying ‘Forest Closed’.

A spokesman said: “In the last week ,we have been impressed by the public staying away from Kielder. Please continue to do this.”