£6,000 appeal to pay cost of removing traveller caravans
- Credit: Terry Harris
An Ely club launched a £6,000 fund-raising appeal for bailiff fees and clear up costs after 20 traveller caravans pitched up for an unofficial three day stay.
Ely Outdoor Sports Association said: “Thankfully, the community response was fantastic and potential flashpoints were diffused,” said a club official.
“As a result, the damage incurred was far less than we feared.
“However, not only did we have to suspend all activities, but it has cost us over £6,000 in bailiff fees, 24-hour security surveillance, clean-up and repair costs.”
EOSA is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, that provides sporting facilities for the whole community as well as member clubs.
A club official said: “We have several important projects planned this year for which we have been fundraising.
“These include resurfacing the car park and these additional costs will put them in jeopardy: hence this appeal.”
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The club said their “usual calendar” was disrupted when the travellers broke into one of their rugby pitches and camped on it and next to the tennis courts for three days.
The official thanked police “who were on hand and regularly patrolled the site throughout the travellers stay”.
The club was also grateful to “East Cambs District Council and Lecoche bailiffs for planning and executing a very smooth and peaceful eviction”.
They were able to “protect our clubs, our members and facilities.
“We are very pleased to say that the travellers have now left.”
A lot of rubbish and waste has been left behind on the 3rd team rugby pitch and tennis area “but with the exception of some damage to the tennis hut we have been very lucky”.
The club also thanked a security firm “for keeping the travellers calm and contained during their stay. Without them we would have sustained a lot more damage”.
The travellers who turned up are thought to be some of those displaced from other illegal encampments across east Cambridgeshire in recent days.
They moved from Waterbeach recreation ground and other caravans had moved temporarily to villages including Stretham.
A summer camp at the Ely rugby club had to be moved at short notice to King’s School, Ely.