Order served on travellers after making threats

Travellers have moved on to land off Lady Balk Lane, Pontefract
Travellers have moved on to land off Lady Balk Lane, Pontefract

Travellers threatened staff at shops and repeatedly banged on the doors and windows of a specialist dementia care home after setting up camp on communal green space, according to police reports.

Several caravans moved onto land off Lady Balk Lane in Pontefract at the end of last week.

They were pitched on a field close to Priory Gardens Care Home for around five days.

PC Jeff Dulson of the Pontefract Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We received a number of complaints regarding the traveller encampment on Lady Balk Lane.

“Travellers are frequent visitors to Pontefract and the majority do not cause significant problems, being generally compliant with police and leaving within a few days.

“However, this particular group were causing serious concerns in the local community due to their anti-social and intimidating behaviour.

“We received reports of the group causing distress to residents and staff at the Priory Gardens Care Home by repeatedly banging on doors and windows, demanding to use the facilities.

“There were also reports of the group abusing staff at Lanes Fish and Chips and several nearby licensed premises, attempting to obtain free food and drink by threatening assaults and damage.”

Residents contacted officers, as well as Wakefield Council and Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper to raise their concerns.

Glynn Humphries, service director for environment and Streetscene at the council told the Express on Tuesday: “Wakefield Council is working alongside the police to use our powers to move the travellers as quickly as possible.

“We are expecting they will move off the site on Tuesday.”

PC Dulson said he enforced a ‘Direction to Leave’ order on the group stating they must leave or their vehicles would be seized. He confirmed they left the site later that day.

One Pontefract resident, who did not want to be named, said: “The land is not secure so they are able to drive straight on to it.

“It’s not the first time travellers have camped here and it is about time the council properly fenced the site off.”