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Travellers taking over recreation ground

(100 Posts)
TerriBull Tue 07-Aug-18 18:57:03

Recently heard from someone I know who lives in Thames Ditton, a village a couple of miles from where I live, that quite a few travellers have turned up there and taken over the local recreation ground. These travellers have recently moved to TD following an eviction a few miles away from Cobham where they left a whole load of debris in their wake, which they didn't feel was their responsibility to clear up . AIBU to think that they don't have to dump human faeces in residents' back gardens along with used toilet rolls, intimidate and threaten locals, steal and cause mayhem with businesses such as cafes and newsagents and then complain that they are hard done by when people can't wait to see the back of them.

cornergran Wed 08-Aug-18 23:16:13

Each summer a group of travellers arrive on the local sea front and park on a large grassed area usually reserved for children’s play. They leave mess and rubbish, make it clear it’s ‘their’ area and no one else is welcome. It seems that they come for a holiday as they always leave after a week. They also leave piles of rubbish for local people to either pick up or wait for the,local council to do so. They are not Romany, aggression and disrespect for settled people is obvious. We stay well clear so they don’t bother us but I do resent the amount it costs to clear up after them.

notanan2 Wed 08-Aug-18 23:44:33

When some moved in near me the council locked ALL public toilets (prior to being locked the travellers had used but not abused them) and shut off all public water sources and stopped public bin collections in that particular car park.

So yeah they left a mess... they didn't initially but in the end it was a self fulfilling prophecy because the council deemed them not worthy of using public facilities long before they had ever done anything wrong.

Some of us locals helped them out with buckets of water etc and found them to be respectful and grateful, but understandably angry and resentful to the council that ran the carpark.

Y'see when people are treated as guilty they will act accordingly.

PECS Thu 09-Aug-18 07:30:41

Recently there was a death of a local , but settled, traveller. Her funeral was at a local church. The police and council knew about it, giving advanced notice of possible congestion as up to 1000 mourners were expected. What they failed to do was to anticipate where the mourners might stay. Why weren't there 3/4 sites identified to cope with the temporary increase of travellers? I am sure that would have been more cost effective and better for community relations. Like a few others my work meant I got to know several traveller families. Most were lovely people, a few were not. Much like everyone else I knew!

OldMeg Thu 09-Aug-18 07:53:16

Some are thieving, messy scum. Others are honest and clean up after themselves.

Iam64 Thu 09-Aug-18 07:59:24

My work with families meant I met and got to know very well many families from the travelling community. That included a large number from the Irish Travelling Community. They're well aware that traditionally they're seen as at the bottom of any caste or class system within the Gypsy community. My mum used to call us naughty little tinkers when we misbehaved - Irish Tinkers during her childhood in the 1920's were identified than as likely to get up to no good. In those days, they travelled throughout the year, staying in traditional stopping points. They'd sell pegs, lucky heather , sharpen domestic implements and tell fortunes as a means of raising cash. Those traditional stopping points have all been gentrified, built over, turned into dual carriageways, with the result that travelling is increasingly problematic.
The families I knew were mostly housed, or lived on council sites. The housed families would share a trailer (caravan) with extended family, which would be used to travel between June and September. As PECS, Luckygirl and others have said the community like all others, has its law abiding, hard working as well as its lawless individuals.
It's a vibrant, physical, noisy, demonstrative culture. Children are encouraged to learn how to manage and work with animals, drive vehicles, use tools etc from an early age. The importance of education is increasingly recognised. Primary schools local to the areas where travellers settle all have schemes to help illiterate older family members to learn basic literacy. All the parents I met recognised their children needed literacy skills and the verbal culture had to move on but not be lost.
I share the frustration about how best to manage situations where large groups arrive and take over an area, to the extent they exclude the residents of that area. I am puzzled about the mess left. The houses and caravans I visited were all immaculate, its part of the culture.

Liz46 Thu 09-Aug-18 08:13:16

My experience of travellers was when I volunteered in a charity shop which raised funds for the local children's hospice. I couldn't believe that people could steal from such a charity. On the last occasion, two women came in and put a pushchair in the middle of the shop. They then went to opposite sides of the shop so I had difficulty in watching them both. I managed to get a message to a volunteer who was emptying bags in the back to get the manager to casually wander into the shop. She came, assessed the situation immediately and checked the pram! She engaged the women in conversation until they gave up and went.

NfkDumpling Thu 09-Aug-18 08:17:54

Where we used to live there were many settled gypsies and there was a permanent travellers site very nearby. Each pitch was provided with a brick kitchen and bathroom. There were few problems with anti-social behaviour and the other residents dealt with any problems. Then ‘The Irish’ moved in. The others moved off. The kitchen/bathroom units were striped out and the place wrecked with noxious bonfires. It took months to shift them and two or three years and thousands of tax payers money before the site was cleared, the poisonous soil cleansed and concreted over and the units rebuilt.

A really strong willed woman manager (who happened to be an Irish gypsy) moved on and with her four sons and hefty husband ruled the place with a rod of iron. She got an MBE for her work for integration. She was lovely. There’s been no more problems. Except when the council wanted to build a ‘temporary’ site next door and locals and travellers stood together to stop it. And succeeded.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:36:46

My mum used to call us naughty little tinkers when we misbehaved
Yes, 'You little tinker' was how I was chastised by DM.

However, there was a clear distinction between them and the 'real gypsies' - if they were in the area the only thing we knew about it was that the women would come around, knocking on doors and selling lace or lavender - and DM always told me never to turn away a gypsy, always buy something from them.
They came, they went, leaving no mess behind.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:48:15

There's a historical difference that makes Irish travellers more resentful of settled people than romany gypsies. The relationship is different and its worth considering why.

Romany gypsies are of Indian descent and travelled by choice across continents via Egypt (the gypsy part & culture of fortune telling) and then via Romania (the romany part).

They came to and travelled around England by choice to a certain degree.

Irish travellers do not have such a romantic past (thats not to say that Romany gypsies didnt face persecution too). They did not historically chose to travel, they were forced to! They are not necessarily Irish citizens but are descended from Irish Catholics who at the time when practicing Catholicism was illegal basically went on the run/move rather than convert. They sound Irish whether they are or not because they had to historically be insular and secretive and basically had to dodge/deceive settled people to survive and practice their faith.

There is a bigger history of animosity and persecution with Irish travellers which prevails today in the relationship between them and settled people.

Not saying that Romany gypsies have had it easy, but its a very different history/culture and they werent as directly hunted and persecuted by the English as the Irish travellers were who are descended from settled Catholics who had to flee their homes.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:50:51

Well, my family has a background of religious persecution, but we don't behave like that. They came here and worked as silk weavers.
(Protestants persecuted by Catholics.)

merlotgran Thu 09-Aug-18 10:59:47

I don't care how immaculate their caravans are. The girls in the family are the cleaners and they have to be spotless. All well and good if you take responsibility for your own rubbish and don't dump it on somebody else's property or leave it rotting in lay-byes.

The police do the absolute minimum when it comes to control because they fear repercussion.

NfkDumpling Thu 09-Aug-18 13:12:33

My family too Jalima - are we related?!

The Irish site manager I mentioned was Irish (with an Irish accent), Catholic and called herself a gypsy. Probably one of the families notanan speaks of. The whole site was immaculate. She really, really didn’t like the Irish tinkers who cause the problems.

It seems that the Irish government changed the law so travellers are unable to build or live permanently (for any reason) on land they own which does not have planning permission in the way they used to. So more are moving around and being moved on, so are coming to the UK and the continent.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 13:29:39

We could be, NdkD!!

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 13:30:02

sorry, typo NfkD

NfkDumpling Thu 09-Aug-18 13:56:32


Elrel Thu 09-Aug-18 17:01:22

Liz46 Sorry to disillusion you, shoplifting from charity shops is not uncommon. The perps aren’t always travellers either, you’ll find.

Iam64 Thu 09-Aug-18 19:59:43

One of the things I liked about the Irish Traveller community was the sing song Irish accents of children from age 2 upwards. I'd ring the bell, they'd answer the door "manmmy, it's anti x come to see us again" they'd call in an Irish lilt, despite never having been to Ireland. Sorry for light hearted post but I did enjoy my involvement with so many of these warm hearted families.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 21:14:05

Yes most Irish travellers are not "from" Ireland. It sounds like they are because the accent is preserved down generations through having an insular community. A bit like the "Dutch" in America.

There is however a lot of trade and marriages between the Irish Irish travellers and the English Irish travellers.

"Tinker" comes from old migrant workers who worked Tin before plastic took over. They were important and valued at the time but became redundant and all true tinkers are probably dead now. I did see an old Tinker in action when I was a child but I dont think the skills have survived till today. The speed and precision was utterly amazing.

It went from a respected trade/skill to becoming a derogatory term back when mass produced plastic became available and the Tinkers found themselves desperate and redundant.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 21:22:02

Not tin miners but those who mended pots and pans?

Iam64 Thu 09-Aug-18 21:57:39

Thanks notonan, interesting bit of history.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:21:00

Before plastic lots of things were made out of tin, everyone had tin buckets, baths etc. Tinkers made them from scratch and also repaired them. There was a lot of skill in it. Some older people still remember when the Tinker coming wasn't a bad thing but a lot of that history is lost.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:24:13

It became derogatory when plastic became accessible and fashionable. With their trade redundant the tinkers would scratch around for any old work and became seen as beggers/pests.

They were travelling people who previously would have had regular routes and come to each town every couple of months by which time repairs were due, but ended up being shunned.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:26:43

They were similar to smiths except they travelled. They would have had apprentices etc back in the day.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:28:09

Interesting, especially as plastic is now such a problem.

notanan2 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:31:32

Yes I was thinking that recently. The tin items were repairable unlike a lot of plastic items today.

We will need to relearn this for a sustainable future but I think the last generation with the true skills died when I was a child I dont think there was any interest in it being passed down any more :-(