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Feeling upset and a little intimidated

(59 Posts)
Sar53 Mon 24-Jul-17 11:48:07

We live in a lovely second floor flat overlooking the sea (the sea is about 200 meters away). There is a small fenced field (it used to be the sports field for the local primary school) just behind our car park.
Yesterday afternoon a largish group of 'travellers' broke in to the field and have set up camp. We are a very small block of 9 flats, many owned by elderly residents and I think everyone is quite upset by this.
Fortunately one of my neighbours is a policeman and the wheels have been set in motion to get a court order to evict them, but this could take up to a week.
They are literally 10 metres from our car park boundary fence and there was a lot of noise til about 11.30 last night.
I am feeling stressed and upset, I don't want to open the blinds, if I can see them, then they can see me.
Am I overreacting ? This is usually such a quiet, peaceful area and it feels like we have been violated.

merlotgran Mon 24-Jul-17 11:55:29

I don't think you are overreacting at all. It beggars belief that they get away with this and when they finally move on you can bet your life there will be a lot of mess to clear up.

You have my sympathy.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 11:55:33

No your'e not overreacting Sar53 if you feel afraid you feel afraid and that's not right. Some travellers recently set up camp not far from my DD's house (she can't see them but they are fairly close). The police have been round warning everyone to take extra care with security etc. Although they say this was just a coincidence and nothing to do with the fact that the travellers have moved into the area hmm

I noticed when I passed earlier the mess was disgusting and they seemed to have chopped some lovely trees down too, but they look like they might be packing up and moving on. Fingers crossed.

Norah Mon 24-Jul-17 12:06:22

Some travellers moved their camp to a field we own, it was near impossible to make them leave. The court would not so order. We had round bales of straw placed over the inward road, they went around, ripped the fence, damaged the area and made a mess with trash. Good Luck.

Indinana Mon 24-Jul-17 12:08:06

Oh no, you are definitely not overreacting - I would be incensed. And yes, I would feel nervous having them so close. Like gillybob's daughter, police warned residents about being extra vigilant with security when some travellers set up camp a few yards from my DS's house last year. They were on a smallish patch of grass - a very wide verge next to the main road where people often walk their dogs. This was separated from a residential property by a 6' fence and their vans were right up against it. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be the people living in that house!
I wish something could be done to speed up the eviction process - it often takes more than a week, sometimes up to a month - and then they move on the day before the eviction notice is served and set up camp a mile or so up the road so the whole process has to start all over again. Pity the notice can't be a multi-site eviction notice, to cover a wider area!

GillT57 Mon 24-Jul-17 12:13:24

We have had a problem with a large group of travellers in the area, they camped right beside a cricket pitch. The state they left the field in was disgusting, they emptied their chemical toilets on there when they left. Then they wonder why nobody wants them on their doorstep. The first thing we were told was to not give the any work ( tree cutting, driveways etc) then they will move on. Just sit tight, lock up properly, badger your local council day in and day out.

Sar53 Mon 24-Jul-17 12:33:21

Thank you for your kind replies. I know this happens in lots of areas but when it is literally on your doorstep it is quite overwhelming.
I am worried about damage and rubbish being left behind. Our policeman neighbour has told us not to engage with them and to be vigilant.
This is the third place in our local area that they have broken into in the last few weeks. I hope the eviction notice comes quickly.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 12:38:29

Around where my DD lives the council have placed huge boulders in various places to stop the travellers from accessing the sites. Sadly the one they are currently occupying seems to have been overlooked.

Sadly there probably will be huge amounts of rubbish left behind Sar53 but once cleared up your local authority need to make sure the site cannot be easily accessed again. So sorry you are going through this.

Nonnie Mon 24-Jul-17 12:58:54

I agree with everyone else, I would be very upset.

A year or two back I was in The Netherlands walking with a local and we went past a sort of traveller settlement. Everything was immaculate. I wonder what they do that we don't.

paddyann Mon 24-Jul-17 13:08:12

I think a lot of travellers are just like you and me and are trying to make a living as best they can.We hava group who rock up once a year and park in afield a few hundred yards from us ,they knock doors and offer to cut hedges /grass,dispose of old white goods etc that the council chrges ridiculous ammounts to do and after a couple of weeks they move on .They always come to us and we are happy to pay them to cut our large very tall hedge which they do quickly and remove all the cuttings.I may view them differently because my cousin ran away with the travellers when she was young ,married one and has been happliy married for over 50 years .Dont tar them all with the same brush ,they are all individuals like the rest of us

sunseeker Mon 24-Jul-17 13:10:19

A friend told me that a local farmer had some travellers move onto one of his fields, he went in with his tractor and started "muck spreading" - they soon left. Of course, what he did was probably against the law but it was effective.

M0nica Mon 24-Jul-17 14:02:54

There were pictures in the paper today of two sites where travellers left, in one case, 250 tons of rubbish, building rubble, garden waste and heaven alone knows what else, behind them when they left, which is going to cost the local council up to £100,000 to remove.

paddyann you say that they knock doors and offer to cut hedges /grass,dispose of old white goods etc that the council charges ridiculous amounts to do and after a couple of weeks they move on but you should be very careful about checking exactly where they intend to dump the waste. It probably is not in an approved waste tip, but on some verge, woodland or other non-approved site where the land owner or local council will have to bear the cost of clearing up after them.

Luckygirl Mon 24-Jul-17 14:09:36

In one of my jobs, which lasted 10 years, I had lots of contact with Travellers.

The parking up on random pieces of land is the result of an act of parliament under Mrs T that removed the duty for LAs to provide Traveller sites. They therefore have nowhere to go and are just moved from pillar to post, to the massive detriment of the children's education.

They are, I found, very like us - there are good and bad, tidy and untidy, honest and dishonest etc. The common factors that unite them all are a strong sense of family and a desire to find ways of continuing the travelling lifestyle into which they were born - a lifestyle that has been destroyed by changes in farming practices and in legislation.

Sadly their needs often clash with those of the settled community.

I met people whom I was proud to call friends, and others whom I would be happy not to meet again. Their cleanliness within their trailers is mind-boggling! - they never remove the plastic protection on the seats and you really could eat your dinner off the floor in most trailers.

There are many aspects of their lifestyle that I do not like - the tradition of very small boys boxing, the role of women in their culture etc. But things are changing gradually and education (for both sexes) is becoming more of a priority, although there is a general anxiety about drink, drugs, sex education the secondary education system.

Please try not to feel too anxious - it is likely that these folk have no more desire to be there than you have for them to be there - they may have no choice. The chances are that these people have no evil or criminal intent - they just have a different lifestyle. For your sake and theirs I hope a proper stopping place is found for them soon.

SueDonim Mon 24-Jul-17 14:24:01

Someone I know who had a problem with travellers on their land went along to chat to them and casually dropped into the conversation that they needed to be careful with their children and especially dogs as the field had just been sprayed with weedkiller.

The field was empty within hours!

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 14:28:21

Their cleanliness within their trailers is mind-boggling! - they never remove the plastic protection on the seats and you really could eat your dinner off the floor in most trailers

I could not dispute the cleanliness of their caravans Lucky its the mess they leave behind that seems to be the problem. I drove past the site near my DD this lunch time and it seems that they are in the process of packing up. They have literally hacked down several mature trees and rubbish is scattered all over the place. Something tells me they won't be clearing it up.

merlotgran Mon 24-Jul-17 14:32:38

There's an old saying isn't there? 'Don't mess on your own doorstep.'

Travellers just go and mess on somebody else's. angry

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jul-17 14:36:25

I m so please a few posters have supported the travellers they aren't all bad people whilst I can understand you not wanting a group of caravans on your doorstep I do think people are incredibly whipped up about the ' dreadful' people they are and as Luckygirl rightly said it isn't always their fault they are pushed around They do have in a lot of instances very moral lifestyles whilst in other instances traditions we don't understand or agree with of course there are 'baduns' as in any group or community
I m sure they will be gone within a few days pushed out of society like lepers and on to bother someone else
Try not to worry too much they are not necessarily the devil incarnate he might be living nearby in a permanent house

nanaK54 Mon 24-Jul-17 14:40:01

I do feel for you Sar53 - I live on the edge of a village green - have had them pitching up on the green two years running. As others have said, it seems that they move on just the day before the eviction order is served. On both occasions they have left the most awful mess (including human waste)
Really hope that 'yours' are moved on soon flowers

Jalima1108 Mon 24-Jul-17 14:44:00

I do think people are incredibly whipped up about the 'dreadful' people they are
Perhaps people have had negative experiences of travellers on their doorstep or next to their DC's schools. This has happened twice where travellers have parked on land next to schools in two different areas where we have lived and I am afraid that the mess was dreadful. Perhaps the caravans were immaculate inside - but certainly the hedge between the vans and the school was used as a toilet.

I am sure that not all are like that but people can only go by their own experiences.

Jalima1108 Mon 24-Jul-17 14:46:10

For your sake and theirs I hope a proper stopping place is found for them soon.
They would have to find a new name then as 'Travellers' would no longer be appropriate.

ninathenana Mon 24-Jul-17 14:57:10

My D is touring manager for a holiday park that has various groups of travellers residing for a few weeks at a time. Ok, I understand it's different when they set up camp on public land and leave their mess behind. Some of the staff are very derogatory about them all but D says if you treat them with respect you will receive the same. She has always managed to set up agood working relationship with the main man. Any complaints she takes to them about noise or the children misbehaving are dealt with amicably.
As someone else said there are good and bad in all cultures.

sunseeker Mon 24-Jul-17 15:08:22

Luckygirl, even where LAs have provided sites a lot of travellers won't use them because they have to pay. Recently there was a group who parked up on a local cricket pitch. They stayed the usual couple of weeks whilst the council tried to get them evicted and when they left they had dug holes in the pitch, totally wrecked the toilet block which will have to be replaced and broken into an officials office. The toilets had been deliberately wrecked, whole rolls of toilet paper being crammed down the toilets, holes punched in walls etc. It is thought it is unlikely the club will be ready for when the season starts. Is it any wonder that people worry and are even afraid when they show up?

rosesarered Mon 24-Jul-17 15:21:27

The police know just what problems they cause, both criminal and social.
Time, I would have thought that travellers ceased a nomadic life in the UK, settled in a proper site, and eventually they would get a good education and leave that way of life altogether.
They cannot make enough money cutting a few hedges and crime always soars when they are around.Trading scrap metal.....our church has had the roof lead stolen three times, my DD's firm was broken into after hours ( travellers set up next door) and they also hooked up to a local firms electricity supply.
When they were around here, houses, and sheds were broken into and garden tools stolen.A van and a car were stolen.Traveller women beg around cafes and are threatening selling tiny bunches of white heather.Then they move on....and the process begins agian somewhere else.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jul-17 15:25:40

Jalima I do stick to what I said and of course as in all societies the bad uns give everyone else the bad name
I hate to hear a whole community hated and decried before they ve even landed
Living here in a seaside town we often have travellers pitch up and the minute anyone mentions the word, traveller the name calling and bad mouthing starts
The council/police move them on usually quickly and everyone has a good moan and a story of destruction whether it's happened or not

I can only imagine how it feels to grow up in a society so feared and hated

Luckygirl Mon 24-Jul-17 15:30:40

One of the reasons that the provision of sites is such a thorny issue is that there are different traveling groups: Irish, English, Welsh, New, Roma etc. and mixing them together on a site is often a problem as they have different traditions.

Jalima1108 - a stopping place is not a permanent home; most Travellers do travel in search of work and because it is their tradition. A stopping place is just that - a place to stop for a while. There are a lot of "settled" Travellers who have given up their travels as there are no stopping places. They do not however cease to be Travellers - there is more to it than that. It is about culture and tradition. One Travelling family I worked with had bought a wonderful house with a lots of grounds and they lived in the yard in their (very posh) trailer and used the house just for bathing and toileting. And yes, they did pay their rates!

There are tax, rent and rates dodgers in every walk of life, and the travelling community is the same - but I know this does not apply to all in either community.

There is a huge Christian movement with the travelling community ( and their morality is very strict. They, and other non Christian Travellers) are very active in the field of charities.

Good and bad, just like us.