INCIDENTS: There was an illegal camp at Harmire Enterprise Park again this year
INCIDENTS: There was an illegal camp at Harmire Enterprise Park again this year

TRAVELLER-related incidents in Teesdale doubled during this year’s Appleby migration.

Sgt Simon Rogers, of Barnard Castle’s neighbourhood police team, said officers had been called out 44 times.

Suspicious and anti-social behaviour accounted for 22 incidents, ten were road related, there were two thefts, two cases of violence against a person and others included three public order offences. Sgt Rogers told Barnard Castle Town Council members police would normally expect 20 or so calls, but despite this year’s increase, none were considered major incidents.

Reviewing the annual migration through the dale, he said: “If this was the last one, I would be happy, but they are going to continue. They [the travellers] arrived early this year – Broomielaw on May 12 and Shaw Bank on May 17.”

Sgt Rogers said the early arrivals at Broomielaw had been served notice to quit papers and moved on – as had early arrivals at Winston corner – but it had been decided to open Shaw Bank prior to the advertised date.

He said feuds within the traveller community appeared to have been resolved, and as a result, numbers were up this year on those passing through.

“We had quite a lot of travellers who we dont normally get,” he added.

Cllr George Hallimond said he had been particularly concerned when travellers had blocked footpaths by tying their horses and carts up outside the town’s pubs.

As a wheelchair user, he said this had forced him onto a busy road, putting his safety at risk.

Cllr Belinda Thompson said horse and traps tied up at bus stops had also caused problems.

Cllr Frank Harrison added that the sight of two young travellers carrying a baby on a horse and cart was also cause for concern. Sgt Rogers said all issues raised about this year’s migration would be discussed at the next meeting of the dale’s travellers forum.

He said the closure of parking bays on Bridgegate and Deerbolt Bank had again worked well, although he appreciated residents’ frustrations.

He thanked those living in the area for their patience, but said until someone could come up with a better solution for stopping illegal traveller camps in those areas, the closures would have to remain in place.

Sgt Rogers said officers had visited traders throughout the town to get their feedback on the migration.

“A lot said it made no difference, some said they sold more. The pubs definitely increased trade and some of the shops said they had minor anti-social behaviour,” he said.

Once again, there had been an illegal camp on Harmire Enterprise Park, but Sgt Rogers said until the owner worked with police and others to put measures in place, there was little that could be done.