Travellers cause 'thousands of pounds' in damage to Northampton park
'Untold damage' has been done to a Northampton park after travellers parked around 20 caravans on the site for around 24 hours.
Piles of rubbish were left littered across the grounds on Delapre Park, near the Delapre Abbey redevelopment project, after the travellers accessed the site on Monday (March 13).
The park turf was gouged with tyre marks and strewn with rubbish, including nappies, gas canisters, ready-meal cartons, car seats, toys, footwear and towels.
Delapre ward councillor Graham Walker said: "I've been here today (March 15) since 7am collecting and bagging the rubbish myself. I've never seen so many nappies.
"This isn't just about the damage to the park. It's the damage to the community. My residents feel threatened when they park on this area near where they live with no respect and cause such damage to the land. In 24 hours they've just made so much mess.
"They can afford some wonderful vehicles but they can't afford bin bags, it seems."
The travellers accessed Delapre Park on Monday night (March 13) after damaging a gate in London Road.
Supported by Northamptonshire Police, the Countywide Traveller's Unit issued a notice giving the caravan drivers 24 hours to leave.
Deputy leader of the council Phil Larrett said: "It could cost up to Â£5,000 to repair the damage caused, not including the rubbish collection and extra security we've had to arrange, as we are worried about the Abbey.
"Northampton Borough Council has spent Â£5-6million on developing Delapre Abbey. This hasn't affected the project but it doesn't help it either.
"The amount of work done by the local people and the support they've shown for Delapre Abbey has been wonderful, and for this to happen is just horrendous."
The Countywide Traveller Unit (CTU) say they believe the travellers have now left the county.
A spokesman for CTU said: "Assisted by Northamptonshire Police, we issued the travellers on Delapre Park with notice asking them to leave by 10am on March 15. They left by the evening of March 14.
"The travellers were reasonably compliant with our requests and left the same night we asked them to leave.
"I understand there were lots of dogs with these travellers and maybe around 40 children. With that in mind, there is not nearly as much rubbish on the park as I would have expected."
Delapre Abbey is due to open later this year after an extensive revamp by Northampton Borough Council.