Call to get tough after travellers leave mess
BLANDFORD councillor Tony Harrocks is calling on authorities to take tougher action on people who camp illegally leaving filth behind them.
He was speaking after travellers pitched camp on land earmarked for an Asda supermarket on the edge of Blandford.
The travellers stayed for a week before moving on to a site opened up ahead of the start of the Great Dorset Steam Fair.
Mr Harrocks, a member of both Blandford Forum Town Council and North Dorset District Council, said the mess left by the travellers would probably cost thousands of pounds to clear up.
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He said: "It was a filthy mess on a field that had been used until a few weeks before for grazing sheep.
"You couldn't let animals on it now.
"There were up to 15 caravans plus other vehicles on that field for a week and they left an incredible mess.
"It's not an ordinary clean up - I saw toilet paper and nappies there meaning it's hazardous waste.
"There were two bikes and food wrapping and general rubbish just dumped there in plastic bags.
"They had even brought in other rubbish like garden waste and dumped it on that land."
Mr Harrocks added: "This happens every year and often the cost of the clean up comes from the public purse.
"What makes me angry with councils is that if any other organisation used a field and then left it in the state that the field was left in, there would be an enormous outcry and those guilty would be fined, very rightly.
"But because it is travellers' mess, the councils or private individuals are expected to pay up and say nothing.
"I am not criticising them as travellers - I am criticising them for their behaviour in leaving a filthy hazardous mess."
He said he would call on the town and district councils to take firmer action in future.
He said: "This always happens somewhere in this area every year."