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Travellers park up on Aughton fields

Caravans arrived on Sunday evening to the dismay of residents

The travellers have parked up on a field off Winifred Lane

Travellers have illegally descended on private land in Aughton, to the dismay of village residents.

The travellers began to arrive on Sunday evening around 8:30pm on a field on Winifred Lane, just off Granville Park.

Neighbours lined the streets, along with the owner of the land, as the travellers removed a gate to gain access.

A neighbour who doesn’t want to be named said: “There are two or three horses tied up to the fences and a few dogs running free in the field.

“It is right next to a park and a lot of the kids were playing on the park while the parents continued to set up camp with tables and chairs.

“They have Irish accents and were driving some pretty expensive cars. One man was guiding the cars on to the field as quickly as possible.

“The school holiday club that is based at the village hall have already posted on Facebook to say they’ve put in plans to relocate should the matter remain unchanged by the six weeks holidays”

Police received a call from several residents on Sunday evening as the travellers began to arrive. Officers are powerless to do anything to remove them however as it is a civil matter that needs to be dealt with by the council and the landowner.

Conservative Cllr O’toole for Aughton said: “As soon as the issue was brought to my attention I contacted the enforcement officers in West Lancashire so they could take the appropriate action.

“I went out to look at the encampment and saw eight or nine caravans, along with several cars and horses.

“As far as I know they have no permission to be there, and I have had numerous phone calls from residents about this.

“Travellers last came to Aughton a couple of years ago, where they set up near Springfield Road. That time it cost £3,500 to clean the site up after they were eventually moved off.

“I am doing everything in my power to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of that situation again with these travellers.”

A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “We are aware that travellers have moved onto land off Winifred Lane, Aughton. This land is in privately owned and so the council is not able to take legal action. However we will endeavour give advice to the landowners about what action they can take.

“We are also aware of the travellers at Maple View, White Moss, Skelmersdale. Again, this land is privately owned and we are advising the landowner what action they can take.

“We stress that any reports of criminal damage to property such as fences or hedges should be reported to the police.

“We understand that the travellers are visiting West Lancashire for a wedding on Friday and we expect that they will be leaving the area at the weekend.”