Clean up of human faeces begins after travellers depart Honiton

PUBLISHED: 11:47 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:47 03 August 2018

Travellers have occupied Violet Hayman Playing Fields, in Honiton.

Travellers have occupied Violet Hayman Playing Fields, in Honiton.

Archant

Piles of human faeces left on a green space in a Honiton road will be cleaned up today after a horde of travellers departed Honiton last night.

Travellers have occupied Violet Hayman Playing Fields, in Honiton.Travellers have occupied Violet Hayman Playing Fields, in Honiton.

The unsavoury scene, on a parcel of land at the bottom of Old Elm Road, is currently being dealt with - while inspections of a playing field they also stayed on is set to be carried out today.

It comes after police and officers from East Devon District Council executed an eviction notice on travellers who bunkered down on Violet Hayman Playing Field, off Honiton Bottom Road.

Their presence had sent social media in Honiton into meltdown, with many residents voicing their concerns over the impact they were having on nearby roads.

Speaking before their departure, Mike Allen, district councillor for Honiton St Michaels, said the travellers - who arrived in a fleet of vans and caravans, had been served with a 24 hour eviction notice.

The group had previously occupied land at Silver Street and Old Elm Road before settling down on Violet Hayman Playing Field on Wednesday.

Cllr Allen said he does not know what the state of the playing field is, but the land at Old Elm road is ‘covered in human waste’.

He said: “It is being cleaned up while we speak.

“The travellers left overnight and were headed towards Exeter.

“Our officers did a very fast job with kind of thing - procedures have to take place to look at welfare and housing needs first.

“We really want travellers to go to specially prepared areas where all the facilities are provided.

“We are working on it.”

Cllr Allen said the travellers left Violet Hayman Playing Field with ‘some resistance’, but could not elaborate on what happened.

Nigel Wills, lead enforcement officer for Devon Investigations Ltd, which was tasked by East Devon District Council to act as enforcement officers, said 12 caravans had been parked on the playing field.

He said: “Half were from Weston-super-Mare and the other half were parked up at Baker’s Field in Newton Abbott.

“Items left at Violet Hayman Playing Field included garden waste from them chopping down residents’ trees, a large tent and bits and pieces of rubbish.

“They have now gone down to Starcross.”

Mr Wills added that EDDC was very proactive in dealing with the travellers as they used ‘common law’ practice, instead of going through the judicial processes.

If they had chosen to do the latter, the travellers could have stayed at the playing field for up to three weeks more while the paperwork was drafted.

Mr Wills said: “EDDC are very proactive - one of the best in the West Country.

“They used common law instead of having to go to court. The eviction notice was served on Wednesday, but they ignored that.

“We then went to the next stage. The travellers were not particularly helpful, we had to have a tow truck there.

“The police were very good and very pleased with the result, together with EDDC.

“A lot people in Honiton are also very relieved.”

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