A MASSIVE fund-raising drive to repair damage done to Alcester Rugby Club after Travellers moved on to the ground has raised an incredible £5,270, smashing the initial £1,500 target.
At its peak there were 35 caravans and motorhomes on the club’s pitches off the A435 at Kings Coughton and committee member and Under 9s coach David Marriott-Woods said it was heartbreaking to see the mess that was left.
“All the windows were smashed in the verandah area, broken chairs were strewn over the pitches and there was faeces, both human and from dogs, left.
“It was disgusting.”
He said the Travellers started to arrive last Friday, June 25, club members being alerted almost immediately by staff from the car wash business on site.
“One of the committee members tried to block the entrance with her car but they kept on coming and feeling threatened she moved out of the way,” he said.
The club contacted the police and the Rugby Football Union and, because it was seen as a civil matter, a firm of bailiffs.
“A couple of committee members went to talk to the Travellers and they said they were only there for the weekend and would be gone by Monday,” said David.
“However on the Monday more arrived.”
On the Wednesday the bailiffs arrived but the Travellers then produced lateral flow tests which showed they were Covid positive.
“Because they refused to move off, we went back to the police. By this time they had done a lot of damage,” said David.
“As a result the police were able to issue a Section 61 order.
“This was served at 1pm last Friday, July 2, giving them a latest leaving date of 1pm on the following Monday, but they started moving out on Friday afternoon.”
And he praised the way the rugby community and the wider Alcester one had come together to support the club.
“The support we have received has been phenomenal. We’ve had to do a massive clean up and we’d like to thank everyone for their help.”
In a statement, Warwickshire Police said: “Officers issued a notice to Travellers on land at Alcester Rugby Club to leave the site by the Monday.
“The notice, under section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, was issued after damage was caused to land and property.
“In addition to this, we can confirm the force received several reports linked to the Traveller encampment and positive action will be taken if we identify offenders.
“We have been offering advice to landowners to secure their land.”
The club’s Go Fund Me page is still open. Visit https://gofund.me/3531bab6