Skip to main content

New vehicles crack down on illegal activity on Salisbury Plain

Hi, I’m Lt Col Stewart Andrews and I’m DIO’s Senior Training Safety Officer for Salisbury Plain. Last year, 2948 illegal incursions were reported in the South West; most were caused by people illegally driving 4x4s and motorcycles on the Plain.

DIO's newly branded vehicles aim to crackdown on illegal activity. [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
We’ve recently received some new – and newly branded – vehicles which we hope will help us crack down on the number of illegal incursions taking place on the Plain. Our new vehicles really stand out and are easy to spot, and with the words Training Safety written on them it’s obvious what job they’ll be doing if you see them out on the Plain. The new vehicles will help to provide a safe place for our troops to train and ensure that the public can use the Plain safely for legal leisure and recreational activities.

The vehicles aren’t just being introduced onto Salisbury Plain though; they’re also being rolled out across the whole of the MOD training estate.

 Operation Aston

This month, we’ll be using our new and re-branded older vehicles during Operation Aston. This is a joint operation run by the MOD, Wiltshire Police and the Royal Military Police to prevent people from taking part in illegal and dangerous activities. The operation aims to educate people on what they can and can’t do on the Plain and tells them about the impact their actions have on our training area. Illegal activities not only cause environmental damage they also disrupt military training.

The new 4x4 vehicles are easy to spot. [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
DIO takes its responsibility for public safety very seriously. We want people to enjoy the MOD estate, but also to realise that if they don’t follow the rules it can be a dangerous place. Military training can take place for up to 340 days a year on Salisbury Plain. For information about accessing the MOD estate, please see the GOV.UK website. This is also where you can access our firing times.

New hi-vis vest and body camera aimed at identifying repeat offenders. [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
We’ve already provided our staff with new hi-vis vests and body cameras to make them more visible across the MOD estate. The hi-vis vests make our staff more prominent and easy to recognise. The cameras will help us to record illegal activity making it easier for us to identify repeat offenders and provide us with the evidence we need to prosecute them. We hope the vehicles, and this new equipment, will make people realise that we take illegal activity very seriously.

Illegal activity causes real damage and real problems. [Crown Copyright/MOD2018]
Illegal activity causes real damage and real problems. [Crown Copyright/MOD2018]
Remember that public access to Salisbury Plain is regulated by a set of Military Byelaws, so please familiarise yourself with them and follow the rules. The majority of people using Salisbury Plain for recreational and leisure activities do so legally, it’s the minority that access it illegally that really need to be stopped – they’re damaging the fragile environment and could disrupt military training. They’re also putting their lives, and those of others, at risk.  If you spot any suspicious or illegal activity, please help us by calling 101 or 999.

The new vehicles will help to monitor activity on the Plain better [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Al posted on

    Can you confirm that this article refers to the entire training estate? You refer to red flags being the indicator of safety but these only refer to the danger area which is only part of the estate. in the west around Warminster a lot of training occurs outside the red flags in what is termed the farm buffer. This includes tanks, helicopters, 4x4 etc all of which pose a danger to those on foot, is this area being patrolled too? What safety measures indicate tank usage of the area? How can people identify legal and none legal users especially those onbikes and horses who cannot be identified with registration plates?

  2. Comment by Nicola Vesey Williams posted on

    Lt Col Tim Jalland said that live firing on Salisbury plain was suspended because of the fire on The Plain and the misery it is causing local residents in this hot and humid weather!
    We have not had any rain apart from the odd shower.
    So can you explain why firing on the plain has resumed in the last half an hour??? Can the Lt Col Jalland explain that to me please.

    • Replies to Nicola Vesey Williams>

      Comment by DIO Communications Team posted on

      After ceasing fire for a brief period over the weekend on Salisbury Plain Training Area, artillery fire commenced again from Monday 11th. However on the 12th, DIO reviewed the risks of continuing live firing on Salisbury Plain Training Area and made the decision to cease artillery live firing until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates on our Twitter account, @mod_dio.

  3. Comment by Al posted on

    Any reason why you won’t answer these questions?
    I think the public have a right to know where you are patrolling and how to keep safe in areas not covered by the flag system don’t you?

  4. Comment by Chris P posted on

    I've looked on the government website for contact information regarding access to the training area (mainly the the housing simulation area) I'm looking for information as we would like to have a 1 day event there each year if possible.. more information can be provided in private.


Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.