The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office reminds the public that it is a felony offense to damage crops and farmland in a practice known as “mudding,” where vehicles leave the roadway to drive around, leaving damage in their wake.

“There is no tolerance for this behavior,” Sheriff Johnny Brown said. “The farmers are tired of it because it’s costing them a lot of money.”

Parents, grandparents and guardians are advised to take notice when their young drivers’ vehicles show up muddy. “You need to ask them where they’ve been so when you get that felony charge it won’t be a surprise,” Brown said.

Farmers are reporting vandalism incidents are occurring on their properties at sites across the county.

“We want to nip this in the bud. This is not about having fun; it is a felony,” Brown said.

Several cases have been filed to date and anyone committing the offense will be criminally charged, Brown said, noting that additional, civil action can include the seizure of the vehicles to pay for the damage.