Category: Travellers

Travellers Must Stop Crapping in Hedges

November 2, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

travellersA key aspect of Brighton and Hove City Council’s traveller strategy is to create a permanent site within reach of key amenities including schools and health services. This proposal has, not surprisingly, prompted an angry response from many who live adjacent to some of the proposed traveller sites.

The reason I say ‘not surprisingly’ is because of the way in which the behaviour of the travelling community is reported and observed. For example, whenever an illegal traveller site has been vacated there has always been rubbish left behind which is then photographed by local residents, making its way to the pages of the local Argus newspaper. In some locations dog walkers have been abused by travellers when traversing the sites which are most often on public land. And I have personally witnessed a man emptying his bowels while only partially obscured behind a hedge. Not a sight that anyone would want to encounter.

While this behaviour may not be representative of the travelling community as a whole it is how they are perceived and this is what counts. If the presence of travelling people was perceived to be beneficial then the people of Brighton would naturally be keen for them to set up home in their locale. But travellers are generally viewed with suspicion (a pair of travellers recently tried to steal a dog from my local hardware store) and often appear to have a lack of regard for local people, amenities, planning restrictions, health and safety or the rule of law.

For travelling communities to become welcome neighbours they must change the way in which they are perceived and for this to happen they must change the way they behave. No more crapping in hedges, driving vehicles on public land, stealing pipework from local amenities, threatening dog walkers or leaving piles of rubbish for others to clear up. This isn’t bigotry, it would apply to anyone who exhibits these anti-social behaviours regardless of what they call themselves.