FARMERS and landowners are being asked to collect evidence about damage to their properties and land caused by trespassers or so-called New Age Travellers.
At Kirkby Lonsdale, one group set up camp by the famous Devil’s Bridge, lit bonfires and scattered litter – including scrap metal and gas cylinders – but totally ignored a large skip which had been placed for their use by South Lakeland District Council.
They used surrounding fields as a lavatory and even set fire to one old caravan, leaving its burnt out frame to disfigure this much-visited beauty spot. One Kirkby resident told Daelnet:
“Proper Romany gypsies have been visiting this area for many years on the way to and from the horse fair and back. They were good people and rarely caused any bother – in fact, we got to know quite a lot of them and would stop to pass the time of day with them.
“These new travellers are totally different. They disfigure the countryside and sometimes act in a very threatening way. They deliberately left their rubbish round the side of a virtually empty skip – and that suggests that they want to upset the locals as an act of deliberate malice.”
The Country Land and Business Association is collecting evidence by email to build up a dossier of such incidents. When the dossier is complete, it will be presented to the Government as part of a campaign to have laws introduced which will allow farmers and police to take swift legal action to evict travellers causing damage and litter.
Anyone wishing to help in the survey – by reporting good behaviour as well as bad – should log onto www.cla.org.uk/travellers.php