SIGNS put up to remind cyclists to share the path have been repeatedly torn down in the Oxfordshire countryside.

Long Wittenham parish council has already had to replace the signs it erected on a bridleway near the village and now they have been destroyed again.

It is thought a crowbar would have been needed to tear down the signs due to the strong fittings used to hold them in place.

The vandals have cost the council more than £60 by ripping down and destroying the signs which urged cyclists to respect horse riders who share a bridleway.

They were originally put up in the west end of the village and at the other end, a mile away, where the path crosses the main road to Appleford.

The bridleway goes on to Didcot and is popular with Long Wittenham residents who cycle or walk to the town for shops and the railway station.

The route is also used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

It is a combined bridleway and a Sustrans national cycle route but cyclists must give way to horses and walkers. No motorised vehicles are allowed.

The council decided to erect the signs following pleas from horse riders complaining about the behaviour of certain unknown cyclists.

It was claimed that in some incidents cyclists disregarded horse riders and their behaviour towards riders became aggressive.

As a result the council decided to erect signs reminding cyclists to respect and beware of horse riders.

But within a few weeks the signs, which cost £25, had been torn down or defaced.

The council decided to replace them with more robust signs with firmer fixings but these too have been destroyed.

Parish councillor Steve Brown said: “It was very disappointing to see the damage to the signs.

"After the first set was either destroyed or removed we decided to replace the signs with more robust fittings.

"Unfortunately these too were attacked and whoever was responsible used considerable force to rip off the signs.

"A crow bar must have been used to prise off one sign.”

The council is now considering whether it should replace the signs yet again.

The British Horse Society has offered to contribute towards the cost of a new set of signs.