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Gypsy invasion

GYPSIES wielding chainsaws broke into council-owned land in Solihull late on Monday night (July 19) disturbing nearby residents.

GYPSIES wielding chainsaws broke into council-owned land in Solihull late on Monday night (July 19) disturbing nearby residents.

The travellers, sporting Irish number plates on their vehicles, were believed to have sawed through two wooden bollards to gain access to the land on Monkspath Hall Road.

A mother of three, who lives close to the encampment near Lakeside Drive said she was horrified to hear the noise at around 1030pm which woke up one of her children.

“We phoned the police but they said they couldn’t do anything, it was up to Solihull Council, but if we were to walk around with chainsaws we would soon be arrested. It’s vandalism.

There were around 30 caravans bouncing up and down the kerb and mopeds going up and down Monkspath Hall Road. The kids break up from school on Friday and there’s no way I will be letting them outside.”

But Mark Dirkin who is staying in a house next to the travellers while carrying out works, said the gypsies told him they were just here for a wedding and would be gone in a couple of days.

“They did make quite a lot of noise and I could see them with the chainsaw but I think they will be gone soon. One of them did come round to ask if I knew of a local vet for one of their horses.”

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said that that the parkland was “well-used” by local people.

“It’s inappropriate for an encampment to be set up on this land and I’m sure the council will make every effort to remove them.”

And MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who was out at the site on Monday evening, said that a generator and lights had been set up - but the gypsies were eventually told to shut them off.

“This is another case of one group of people’s rights before put before anothers.”

Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, also offered her support to residents. “Local residents are clearly worried, but they should be assured that they have my full support against any unauthorised development. Conservative Councillor Brian Burgess has visited the site. While councillors cannot interfere with legal matters, they can give valuable help to residents in informing them of the right channels to approach and, of course, in providing moral support.”

A Council spokesman said:“We are aware that a group of Travellers have moved onto land adjoining Monkspath Hall Road to the east of the junction with Lakeside Drive. This section of land provides access to Hillfield park and is owned by the Council.

“We have carried out an initial assessment and we will be working closely with the Police. We have arranged for welfare assessments to take place today. The Legal Notice is being prepared, and if there are no issues, we will issue notification immediately, which will require the travellers to vacate on Thursday.

“If they fail to vacate the park on Thursday we will start Court proceedings.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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