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Travellers claim intimidation

PUBLISHED: 10:35 27 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 March 2010

TRAVELLERS today said they moved camp to Felixstowe after only a day - because a group of teenagers made their lives hell.

The disgruntled travellers, who set up camp at the bottom of Thurmans Lane, Trimley St Mary, claim a group of about 15 boys and girls confronted them and started shouting and swearing at them.

TRAVELLERS today said they moved camp to Felixstowe after only a day - because a group of teenagers made their lives hell.

The disgruntled travellers, who set up camp at the bottom of Thurmans Lane, Trimley St Mary, claim a group of about 15 boys and girls confronted them and started shouting and swearing at them.

"A gang of kids were being very abusive and were swearing at us.

"They were holding pieces of wood and surrounded our camp but they didn't physically do anything.

"It was quite intimidating and wasn't nice for our children so we decided to pack up camp and move on," said one man.

The travellers had previously been staying illegally at Landguard nature reserve and moved to Trimley on Saturday afternoon after receiving an eviction order from Suffolk Coastal Council.

Acting Inspector Richard Lane of Suffolk Police said: "We were aware of the travellers and went to see them.

"We have had no complaints from the travellers with regard to intimidation and to my knowledge we had no complaints from members of the public while the travellers were in Trimley."

However, the cheeky travellers seem to be playing hide and seek with the council and have out manoeuvred them again by returning to their former campsite at Landguard.

The travellers admit they have taken a fondness to Felixstowe and declared that they might stay some time. "We like it here," said one man.

"We intend to stay here for a while and we know our rights.

"The council and have been to see us and we have told them of our intentions.

"It's nice here as we are away from the housing estates and we are not doing any harm."

It was exactly a week ago when the travellers first arrived in Felixstowe, setting up base illegally on Landguard nature reserve which is home to some of Britain's rarest plants. They had driven on to the reserve through an area where fencing was broken.

Council chiefs acted quickly to evict the settlers and on Saturday afternoon they left Landguard and moved to Thurmans Lane, Trimley St Mary.

However, yesterday evening the travellers returned to their favoured spot at Landguard after the council failed to repair the fence which would have stopped them gaining entry.

Nobody from the council was available for comment.

Doreen Rayner, chairman for the west end of Felixstowe residents association, said: "There are sites where travellers can go in the county legally and set up camp.

"But it seems they prefer to come along and camp on any open piece of land instead."

Two families in large caravans have set up camp with their works vans. The encampment consists of men woman, many young children and several dogs.

The caravans are camped just off Viewpoint Road, which leads to Landguard Fort and the port viewing area.

The reserve – which sits between the North Sea and the kaleidoscopic stacks of containers in the quayside storage parks of Felixstowe Port – is mainly a shingle spit, though the part the travellers are camped is grassland. They are in the shelter of higher land known as The Buffs.

More than 375 different species of plants including the endangered stinking goosefoot and the yellow-horned poppy have been found on the 58-acre reserve and one-third of all British grasses grow there.

The site is also a stop-over place for over wintering and migrant birds to feed, breed and nest.


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