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Protest camp against Meriden gypsies is vandalised

POLICE are investigating after a protest camp against the Meriden travellers was vandalised in a late night attack.

POLICE are investigating after a protest camp against the Meriden travellers was vandalised in a late night attack.

Members of Residents Against Inappropriate Development, RAID, were outraged to discover their camp’s brazier had been damaged and firewood left strewn over the adjacent Eaves Green Lane on the morning of September 28.

The incident is sure to ratchet up tensions in the area, as police reports show that the travellers too have been victims of crime.

Campaigners built the shelter after the illegal gypsy camp was set up on land opposite in May 2010.

After losing a High Court battle, the travellers have now been given until next March to leave and RAID have pledged to continue their vigil until then, although they have also been told to pack up their camp.

David McGrath, chairman of RAID, said that during the attack, no-one had been on duty at the camp at the time due to sickness.

But he added the vandals could have been deterred by having active CCTV cameras in the lane.

“This is outrageous and unacceptable,” he said. “The police went to a lot of trouble to install a CCTV facility in the lane but have never switched it on owing– we believe– to objections from the travellers.

“If the camera was on, this and other events would be there for all to see. The police attendance at incidents has been good but we need preventative action too and we believe that the camera would help.

“Even when we submitted a petition by 200 people calling on the police and council’s Community Safety Partnership to take action, we were told that nothing would be done. This is political correctness gone mad and our right to protection and security is as valid as anyone else’s rights.”

However, a report presented to Solihull Council last month, by community safety manager Gillian Magee, found that surveillance cameras had ‘certain limitations’ and would not help police tackle anti-social behaviour in the lane.

The report added that travellers had also been the victims of crime in the village, according to policelogs.

A Police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating the incident.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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