‘Life threatening threats, extortion’ as travellers wreak havoc
- Credit: Terry Harris
Threats by travellers who ‘took over’ a Fenland caravan and camping park over Easter, forced its temporary closure.
Guests received an email from site owners on Easter Sunday.
"Last night took a very nasty turn for us all, another traveller caravan broke in,” it said.
“They were all very drunk and made our life hell, with life threatening threats, extortion, etc.
“The staff here are broken, tired and in fear of their own safety too.”
One travelling family had booked a pitch for two nights but then shared barrier code information with others who stormed the Doddington site.
One guest who had booked for a weekend break said: “As it progressed, more arrived in trucks and caravans
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“They even demanded £1,000 from the owners for diesel to leave,” he said.
Dozens of guests who had booked for the weekend received emails from site owners telling them they were closing from 11am on Easter Sunday.
A note on the park’s website confirmed this.
“Fields End Water caravan, camping and fishing park at Doddington has had to temporarily close due to an unforeseen circumstance.
“We do hope to open very soon.
“We are unable to answer phone calls I am afraid too. If you really need to contact us, please do by email and we will respond as soon as we can.
“Please keep checking for updates and re-opening times. We apologise for any inconvenience. You can still book online for holiday from May 2022 onwards.”
The park – opened nine years ago by MP Steve Barclay – has expanded to include glamping pods and six luxury lodges all with a private hot tub.
The email from site owners added: “We have no other choice, other than to close the park today with immediate effect, and this is to protect you too from these unsavoury people.
“We have had to turn the phones off, as they kept calling us making more threats over the phone.
“My staff will be leaving site this morning and I am afraid we need you pack up and make your way home as soon as possible, and be off site by 11am or very soon after.”
The email concluded: “I can’t begin to tell you how sorry and gutted we are that your stay here at Fields End Water, a business that we are so passionate about has been ruined.”
Park owners promised to reimburse guests.
"If you really do need to contact us about anything, our only way on communication until the travellers have left site will be email, we will endeavour to check regularly,” the email concluded.
The previous day visitors received an email from site owners telling them they had expected “the uninvited guests will depart today or tomorrow.
“I am being honest, and I just think they are buying time, and probably won’t be leaving.
“The authorities are not at work until Tuesday, so we are on our own until then.”
Fields End Water said they had brought in a security firm “to maintain the safety of our guests and the park, until this situation is resolved”.
The guest I spoke to said he had told of the difficulties of staying but decided to see it through.
“However, the toilets were out of action, and during the night you could hear the noise of the ‘uninvited guests’ getting drunks.
“Some of the younger members of the families were coming up to guests and ask ‘you wanna sell your truck?”
He added: “Friday night was a shambles and it continued like that on the Saturday.
“On Saturday evening the owners suggested we leave but I had drunk a few beers with my son watching football and said we would be OK but would leave first thing Sunday.
“It seemed to me the age-old trick of buying a pass for one caravan then getting the barrier codes to let in all their mates.
“All we could hear at night were arguments and shouting, and they even rammed the barrier – which in my mind was criminal damage
“I could see not only guests but staff and even the security guards being threatened.
"It was not very nice and the owners – who must have lost umpteen thousands of pounds -are such lovely people.”
He said he was concerned the police – who were called – felt unable to do anything.
Another visitor, in a Facebook post, said her family arrived on Thursday and staff explained what had happened.
“We were asked if we were sure we wanted to stay and could leave because travellers had got through the barrier and set up their trailer in the car park.
“The travellers' children had flooded the shower block and wrecked it.”
She said: “The police had attended and said they couldn't do anything it was best to ‘work’ with them as they became aggressive, very verbal and threatening behaviour.
“We decided to stay as the sheriff was attending to move the travellers off site as they were trespassing.
“Despite promising to move on the following day, that didn't happen.”
That day the woman she went to Wisbech to buy parts for their caravan and when they returned “there was a security firm on the site, with dogs.
“Apparently, another bunch of drunk travellers turned up, threatening the owners, saying they would burn and trash everything. Their beautiful house included.”
She asked: “Why do the police not have the powers to remove them when they are threatening, verbally abusive and cause criminal damage and the owners cannot do anything about it.
“We are a soft nation, that protects criminals rather than the victims.”
She added: “Our hearts go out to the owners of Fields End Water caravan and motorhome club site, a beautifully kept and really pretty site and friendly staff with a large fishing lake with glamping pods and touring park.
“I feel so sorry for them, what mess are they going to return to?”
The site owners have been approached for comment.