Businessman driven out by travellers

PUBLISHED: 12:02 19 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

ON THE LOOKOUT: Keith Bowhill keeps an eye out

ON THE LOOKOUT: Keith Bowhill keeps an eye out

BUSINESSMAN Keith Bow­hill is moving his business out of Ely s Cambridgeshire Business Park because he claims it is plagued by boy racers and travellers. Keith, 57, has had enough of feeling intimidated as he arrives for work and claims the chaos is not g

The travellers who have arrived.

BUSINESSMAN Keith Bow­hill is moving his business out of Ely's Cambridgeshire Business Park because he claims it is plagued by boy racers and travellers.

Keith, 57, has had enough of feeling intimidated as he arrives for work and claims the chaos is not good for his business image.

The high-tech business park in Angel Drove was set up to take the overspill of companies from Cambridge's prestigious science park.

"I've had enough," he said. "If I were 10 years younger I would have fought it. But I don't need it.

"There is no way that I would suggest that innovative companies come to Ely. I'm past getting angry."

The final straw came this week after travellers set up camp on the business park.

Eight caravans moved onto a car park on Friday and children were running through the estate screaming and shouting.

Over the weekend, four district council-owned units had their windows smashed and a company director in another office found a man on the building's roof attempting to steal the air conditioning unit.

East Cambridgeshire District Council officers issued a 48-hour eviction notice to the travellers on Monday and warned that if they had not moved on by yesterday, they would start court action. Ely police have also organised extra patrols.

But the action was too little too late for Keith and his business partner, Tony Chandler who have spent the last five years building natural products development company, Bionovate.

Keith said: "The building has a security system fitted, but I took one of the computers home at the weekend because it had valuable data on it.

"We had boy racers here a couple of summers ago and I came in on a Sunday and there were around 300 youngsters out there. I felt totally intimidated.

"I have a virtual business and don't need to be here. I live in Ely and love Ely but this is complete chaos.

"I'm not going to bring extra staff in here and how could I possibly have customers coming here?

"The council and the police are incapable of dealing with this and it is impacting on the whole community."

At the weekend, Trevor Benton director, Jane Benton, alerted police after a thief stole an air conditioning unit from the roof of the building while she was working inside.

Jonathan Kenney, the company's commercial manager said: "It's not ideal when women are working on their own in the building.

"We have had travellers running up and down screaming and chasing children. They come here, make a mess and then leave."

Ely Police Inspector Adam Gallop said: "This is not a police issue. The car park and property is owned by the district council. There has been some damage to a building next to the site but no-one has seen who caused it.

"We are visiting more than a couple of times a day and we were there with our Rural Crime Team and council officers on Tuesday afternoon.

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