Mystery fire destroys caravan

MYSTERY today surrounds the cause of a fire which ripped through a large caravan on a travellers' site at Melton.People in the area spotted the spectacular flames and a huge pall of smoke rising into the air at about 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

MYSTERY today surrounds the cause of a fire which ripped through a large caravan on a travellers' site at Melton.

People in the area spotted the spectacular flames and a huge pall of smoke rising into the air at about 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

But Suffolk fire and rescue service said they had no calls about the incident and did not attend, and police also received no calls.

The Wetfield travellers' site in Saddlemakers Lane is one the longest-established encampments in Suffolk, but the group living there is being evicted from the site.

The Wetfield 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. The former owner of the land lived in Holland and was said not to be in good health.

The land is understood to have been bought by a consortium of residents to stop travellers living there and spoiling the appearance of the village. They were granted possession of it in October.

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Workmen have spent several days on the land and they have taken away 55 cars, five lorries and three caravans. Buses have also been used as homes and workmen found a horsebox had been lived in.

Travellers had been warned they would be evicted from the Wetfield at 10am yesterday and over the last few weeks there has been a steady stream of travellers moving to other locations. By the end of last week there was just a handful of people still living on the Wetfield.

Graham Laight, Melton parish council chairman, said: "We are pleased that the site is being cleared and that the Wetfield matter has been drawn to a conclusion."

The land was covered in rubbish including shopping trolleys, bottles, cans, household appliances, gas cylinders, bicycles and children's play equipment.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has spent thousands of pounds in recent years in making three evictions from the land. The council has written to farmers in east Suffolk to warn them that travellers could be looking for new places to camp. Parish councils have also been urged to take action to secure their land against unauthorised access.

The new owners have been unavailable for comment and it has not been made public who is paying for the clean-up operation.

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