September 23rd, 2016

Travellers demanded £2,000 to move off South Redditch Social Club car park

TRAVELLERS who’d set up camp on the car park of South Redditch Social Club demanded £2,000 from club members to move on.

When they refused to pay up the price dropped to £1,000 – and a barrel of Guinness.

This afternoon Friday (June 17) club members were sitting tight in the bar area, the entrance partially blocked by a huge caravan belonging to the Travellers.

Locals who use the club said they couldn’t move in case more damage was done to the premises.

Meanwhile the car park has been strewn with plastic cladding torn from an E.ON dump lumps of concrete and rubbish – as well as human waste.

“They’ve broken the gate to get on the car park, they’ve been on the roof and two girls were attacked as they walked to Tesco – we had the riot van down here yesterday,” said one member.

“People have been threatened, there’s faeces everywhere and they’re emptying their caravans and cars before they pull out.”

By 3pm today police had arrived to enforce an eviction order for 4pm, although club committee member Richard Morris said they’d been warned that the Travellers would probably drag it out to 7pm.

“We’ve got a wedding here tomorrow and the place looks like a dump,” he said. “The members are hanging on to clean the site up to make sure it looks all right for the wedding.

“They’d originally parked on the playing fields but with the weather it had become a quagmire and they moved onto our car park.

“On Wednesday night five of them came and said ‘give us £2,000 and we’ll move on’ which is ridiculous, for starters we’re a charitable company and secondly we don’t give in to intimidation. There was about 18 or 20 caravans and mobile homes.

“Then there’s the damage to the E.ON cladding, which the bloke running it thinks will be about £3,000 – and they’ve been weeing and pooing everywhere.”

Members of the Travellers community were reluctant to speak but one, Melissa Ward said: “We’ve done nothing wrong, we’ve just come here and ever since the residents have given us a load of bother.”

Redditch Inspector Darren Webster said: “There has been a continued policing presence in the area since the travelling community arrived and we have been in contact with the local community and partners.

“We have received reports of ant isocial behaviour in the area and have therefore used our policing powers to give them an eviction notice and we expect them to leave the area later today (Friday).”