Travellers move into privately-owned Honiton field following standoff with bailiffs and police

PUBLISHED: 10:54 11 July 2019

New government figures show there are less traveller caravans in East Devon this year than there were last year. Picture: PA.

New government figures show there are less traveller caravans in East Devon this year than there were last year. Picture: PA.

Archant

A group of travellers have moved to a privately-owned field after their presence led to the postponement of a major triathlon in Honiton.

More than half-a-dozen vehicles arrived on Friday evening (July 5), setting up home at Allhallows Playing Field.

The travellers' presence at Allhallows caused Honiton Triathlon to be cancelled.

The popular event, due to be held on Sunday, July 7, was cancelled.

In an email to its participants, organiser Pure Endurance said: "Due to circumstances out of our control, the difficult decision has been taken to postpone tomorrow's triathlon.

"A number of travellers arrived on the field, including the transition area last night, with no intention to move until Monday.

"Therefore we can not set up the event. We have consulted with the local authorities and feel this is best for everyone."

When the Herald contacted Pure Endurance, an organiser said the firm was arranging on new date to stage the run, but did not disclose when it would be announced.

The travellers were asked to move on by enforcement officers appointed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) after being served with notices on the Sunday.

The travellers vacated the field on Tuesday (July 9) after the notices expired and they still had not left.

Nigel Wills, of enforcement agency Devon Investigation, told the Herald the group of travellers were 'very, very hard' to move on.

He said: "This was the same group that pitched up at Crealy and at the Exeter Chiefs.

"There were nine vehicles in total, and they did not want to move."

Mr Wills said the police were called and the vehicles left the field following a standoff.

The caravans are still in Honiton following a failed attempt to pitch up on council-owned land in Ottery Moor Lane, which is leased to a sports and social club.

The EDDC spokesman said: "We understand that members of the club along with local residents managed to secure the site before others could arrive and as a consequence the travellers then moved on to an adjacent privately owned field.

"As this land does not belong to the council it will be for the owner to take whatever action is needed.

"However, to assist the owner we did provide them with the contact details of the enforcement officers that we use."

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