Traveller camp children accused of verbally abusing park runners in Northampton

A traveller group that was pitched up on the Racecourse in Northampton has been approached by police after a set of park runners were allegedly subject to verbal abuse.
A traveller group that was pitched up on the Racecourse in Northampton has been approached by police after a set of park runners were allegedly subject to verbal abuse.

Children belonging to a traveller encampment in Northampton are alleged to have “verbally and physically abused” a set of runners as they took part in a an organised event at the weekend.

Several people taking part in the Parkrun Northampton event at The Racecourse on Saturday have reported how children belonging to a camp pitched up there targeted youngsters taking part in the run.

Event director for Northampton, Gabby Deere, said: “One child had his cap stolen, another young girl had her ponytail pulled. It was very distressing for all involved.

“In five years we have never had anything like this.”

The traveller group at the Racecourse had already been the subject of several complaints. Last week the group was criticised for driving quad bikes around Lings Park.

As of yesterday, much of the group appeared to have moved onto the borough council-owned Kingsthorpe Recreation Ground.

Det Supt Dennis Murray of Northamptonshire Police said a colleague had been down to the site to meet with the camp following the reports.

“The parents actually agreed that behaviour was unacceptable,” he said.

Ms Deere said the incident will not deter the park run from taking place at The Racecourse, which is regularly attended by 500 or more people.

She added: "Hopefully this was a one-off."