Too high a price

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I would like to comment on some of the numerous press stories (local and national) covering the traveller invasion of Findon’s village green at Nepcote on Tuesday, June 24. This was the third time in three years that Findon has experienced a traveller encampment, when in all three cases criminal damage was done to effect entry.

Findon residents have had to pay for the damage and endure intimidation every year, and on this occasion gathered to prevent any more vans joining those already on the green, by blocking the gate that the travellers had broken down and used to enter the green. The cost to the village last year was £7,000, from an annual budget of £34,000, too high a price to pay for a small village.

The police arrived very promptly, did not stop us blocking the gate, did not threaten villagers with arrest for ‘false imprisonment’ of the travellers, and acted at all times with courtesy to both the villagers and the travellers. Asite inspection report was rapidly completed by police and sent off to Police HQ in Lewes, following which a decision was made to issue a section 61 eviction notice.

It is the view of Findon Parish Council that the police acted at all times with commendable professionalism, and we are grateful that the event passed off peacefully and quickly.

Should it happen again, either here or elsewhere, then a strong message has been sent to the travelling community to stay away from public property that affects villagers’ rights to use recreation areas owned and maintained by their council taxes.

Peter Goldsworthy

chairman,

Findon Parish Council

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