‘Violent and homophobic’ cyclists threaten same-sex couple simply for asking them not to use a private lane
A queer couple living in a farm in northern England were subjected to a torrent of homophobic abuse – their car vandalised – after simply asking cyclists to not use their private road.
The men live on a farm track between Rothwell and Caistor, Lincolnshire, which is only accessible by a private road.
As much as the rolling farmland is marked with signs stating it is a private road, the couple told GrimsbyLive they often get members of the public using the pathway as a shortcut.
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, told the outlet that Wednesday evening (August 5), a group of cyclists retaliated when asked to peddle elsewhere. They began shouting in the couple’s faces and then tried to damage their vehicle in what law enforcement are considering a hate crime.
Same-sex couple harassed by ‘violent and homophobic’ cyclists speak out: ‘There’s just no need for it.’
One of the men said: “When we told them it was private land, some of the group left, but a lot stayed behind. We tried to go shopping but the group were blocking the road.
“We asked them to move and one guy went from 0 to 100 and started shouting loudly at us and got in our faces.
“He also tried to damage the car, including trying to rip our wing mirrors off, which we are now having to get fixed.
“But another man started giving us homophobic abuse and started shouting slurs at us.
“We ended up calling the police and reported it, as well as taking photos of those responsible to try and get something done about it.
“There’s just no need for it. There’s a public bridleway a couple of minutes away from where we live which cyclists use all of the time.
“They had no right to be using the road, there are signs along it that say it’s a private road and it’s not for public use.
“There were only two men giving most of the abuse, the rest just stood there and let it happen, and I think that can be just as bad.
“Surely one of them could have stepped in?”
Anit-LGBT+ hate crimes are on the rise.
Lincolnshire Police confirmed they are investigating the incident and are treating it as a hate crime, coming as England witnesses a severe surge in anti-LGBT+ hate crime in the last five years.
“We’ve lived here for nine months, and while you do get the occasional walker who gives you the middle finger, most people take it well and apologise,” one of the men said.
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“But this is the first time we’ve had someone being so violent and homophobic about it.
“We’re hoping this will be resolved soon, but this just solidifies my belief that bikes should have some kind of identifier, like number plates on cars, so they can be held accountable properly.
“We’re not going to let them stop us from enjoying our home, though.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police said: “We received a report about a group of bikers who were on private land in Rothwell at around 7 pm on 5 August.
“When asked to leave, two of the bikers caused damage to the victim’s car. The victims were also subjected to homophobic abuse meaning we will be dealing with this as a hate crime.
“Anyone with information as to the identity of the offenders is urged to call 101 with incident reference number 393 of 5 August.”