A MIRFIELD councillor has said he’s ‘disappointed’ with the authorities after travellers left a mess – including human faeces – on a well-used sports field.
Members of the travelling community set up camp on Green Side Estate recreation ground, off Old Bank Road in Mirfield, on September 4.
It is alleged they forced entry by breaking the padlock on a gate protecting the council land, but when police attended the scene residents have suggested officers allowed more travellers to access the site.
There have also been reports that travellers damaged the turf by driving around on quad bikes, used the surrounding bushes as toilets and in some cases were abusive to people living in the surrounding area.
Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield), has voiced his frustrations at the lack of action taken by the authorities.
“I’m very disappointed with the police and Kirklees’ response to this,” he said.
“I rang Kirklees and asked why they hadn’t gone and taken action and they told me there is a difficulty in getting evidence.
“In 2007, there was a problem in Cleckheaton with somebody fouling the streets.
“Kirklees put in covert CCTV cameras and that led to a prosecution – so you can prosecute people for public order offences if you’ve got the will to do it.
“It’s a question of equality and the police should be treating people without fear or favour – we need firm action,” he added.
Coun Bolt, who is Mayor of Mirfield, also called for a quick clean-up effort and said: “I hope Kirklees use a specialist firm of contractors because they have to clean the ground.
“This is an area that families use, people take their dog for a walk and others play sport, so it needs to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure there are no health risks.”
Coun Bolt said he’d been in constant contact with residents while travellers were on the recreation ground.
“The disruption to people’s lives cannot be underestimated,” he said.
“Travellers were being abusive to them and in some cases people felt intimidated – we shouldn’t have to tolerate it.”