Travellers ‘scare’ locals after setting up camp

Travellers have set up an illegal camp in a newly-built housing estate – making locals scared to leave their GBP700,000 homes unattended. The group of Travellers with an “army of dogs” has pitched four caravans on a strip of land just metres from residents’ front doors. A mum said that the Travellers, who arrived on Friday, had made her and neighbours unable to vacate their homes, which are valued at up to GBP700,000.

The encampment is on the perimeter of a 13-acre housing estate in Colchester, Essex, that was built this year and counts almost 150 two, three or four-bedroom homes. One angry resident, who asked not to be named, said: “They have a complete disregard for anybody else and none of us have felt happy leaving our houses unattended. “They have been making hell all weekend and they have an army of dogs which just bark all day and night, right outside my four-year-old’s bedroom.

“But we have all rallied together and if nothing else it has brought out the community spirit.” Five dogs are constantly chained up outside the caravans and a number of puppies are kept inside the vehicles, a resident said. The mum, who asked not to be named, said that at least 10 people, including two young children, were living at the illegal roadside camp.

The group have parked six cars, including a brand new BMW 4×4, an SUV and a tow truck, on a strip of land alongside their four caravans, the resident added. Commenting on the group’s pets, she said: “Their dogs are never all out together, but approximately four or five grown dogs are pegged to a chain outside all day and an unknown number of puppies are kept in crates in the caravans and van.” It is understood the Travellers stopped in the area after being moved on from the car park of a former Chiquito restaurant outside Colchester.

The group is believed to have dumped a pile of waste, which has since been bagged up after a visit from the police. A spokesman for Colchester Council said the authority is aware of the “unauthorised encampment” and is taking action to see it moved on, but the process could take as long as 10 days. They said: “We have informed the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit, which will visit the site within 24 hours to carry out initial welfare checks.

“If there are no immediate concerns, the Travellers will be asked to leave the site. “If the Travellers do not leave the site, we will need to go through the courts to ensure their removal. If we have to apply for a court order, the procedure will take between seven and 10 days.”

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