Landowners warned about travellers

LANDOWNERS are being warned today to lock up their fields because a group of new age travellers could soon be wandering the area looking for a fresh home.

LANDOWNERS are being warned today to lock up their fields because a group of new age travellers could soon be wandering the area looking for a fresh home.

One of the longest-established illegal encampments in Suffolk is being evicted from its site – and it is feared that it will target unguarded fields and open spaces.

Warnings have been sent to farmers and other landowners across the Suffolk Coastal district.

The camp at the Wetfield at Melton has been a thorn in the side of villagers for more than a decade and it is understood site has now been bought by a consortium of residents in order to solve the problem.

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After more than ten years, legal action to evict the travellers has now been successful.

Graham Laight, chairman of Melton parish council, said the travellers had long been a cause of concern among villagers. He said: "We have had many complaints over the years, mostly about the state of the site.

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"People have been up there and seen the mess that they have left. Also there are the obvious queries about where they are getting their supplies from and how they dispose of their refuse."

For many years residents of the village, along with Suffolk Coastal and the parish council, have been looking at ways to move the travellers from the land.

The new owners were granted possession of the land on October 21 and intend to enforce an order to evict the travellers if they have not left the site within 28 days.

Meanwhile farmers and landowners are being warned to secure their fields and open spaces with fencing and locked gates to prevent the travellers setting up a new home in the area.

In an email to farmers, Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: "The Wetfields at Melton was purchased recently by a local group of individuals and legal action looks to have been successful in evicting the 'New Age Travellers' from this long suffering site.

"Some travellers have already moved off and you may wish to take action to prevent travellers from moving onto to your land or any Parish owned land particularly on any vulnerable sites within the Deben Peninsula."

Travellers at the Wetfield in Saddlemakers Lane did not wish to talk about the eviction when The Evening Star visited the site.

The site has been occupied at various times over the past 12 years by travellers with sometimes up to 100 people living in an assortment of old vehicles.

Villagers have expressed concern about the potential health problems arising from people living on a site without facilities and the untidy state of the area.

The former owner of the land lived in Holland and was said not to be in good health. Several attempts were made to encourage him to visit to see the situation. The new owners were not available for comment today.

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