Travellers face off after chasing themselves inside a former pub grounds
A landowner had to fork out £2,500 after travellers barricaded themselves on his property and staged a furious stand off with police and bailiffs.
Furious Steve Dale, 70, paid for bailiffs to remove the travellers but the group stuck up a notice threatening against any attempts to move them hampering the bid to get them out.
Police were then called and eventually helped move them on from the site in Tipton, West Mids, after they had blocked the gate with their vehicles and held the lock to stop it being cut open.
Steve, 70, said: “All I wanted was do is the see the back of them and for them to move on. I’m shocked.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it at the time and now I’m having to pay my own money to get rid of them when they’re on my property.
“The whole family has been stressed and we haven’t slept for days.
“The law hasn’t helped us at all and it needs to be changed. There’s so many loopholes in the law and it’s such a long process to be able to get them off the land.
“The length of time they were on the land meant a lot of damage was done and it will cost me a lot to get it how it was.”
A notice at the entrance warned the Penham Excel bailiffs that the travellers were now ‘occupiers’ and ‘any attempt to enter these premises without permission is a criminal offence’.
The bailiffs called West Midlands Police who jumped over a sidewall with Steve’s son Robert, aged 28, to gain access to the compound.
Two caravans had been parked on Steve’s land and the travellers drove one van and Mercedes car forward to block anyone opening the gate.
More travellers turned up to block the gate from the outside, immediately after a tow truck had arrived to take away the caravans.
A heated discussion followed between travellers, bailiffs and police but the group eventually agreed to move on from Steve’s land at 1pm on Thursday, leaving behind 30 bin bags full of rubbish, furniture and wood scraps.
While a traveller clutched onto the lock, a Penham Excel enforcement officer cut through a hinge on the other side of the gate with an electric saw at 10am.
Steve, from Wednesbury, West Mids, led the efforts to remove the travellers, which he said would end up costing him around £2,500.
The site, previously home to The Old Crown pub, was bought by Mr Dale in August with hopes to rent the building out or build 11 houses on it.
The law states that when travellers arrive on private land, it is the landowner’s responsibility to remove them and the local authorities and police can only be used when certain conditions exist – after a court order is obtained.
Mr Dale had initially accepted the travellers’ offer of moving on today – but wanted to access the site and store some of his work vehicles.
In response, a traveller, who did not want to be named, said: “If you put your trailers on there, there’s no guarantee that the kids won’t slash the tyres and I can’t be held responsible so I’d suggest keeping them out until we’re gone.
“I can give you my word that we’ll be gone by 10am tomorrow.”
But after 30 minutes of deliberation between the enforcement officers, the travellers finally left the site.
Enforcement officer Phil Roberts said he had moved the same family on from other sites twice before.
Mr Dale added: “It’s a relief to have seen them go and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
“Now I’m going to secure the property to make sure it doesn’t happen again so we’ll be putting concrete blocks across all the fencing.
“At the end of the day, the law has no control over them and they can do what they like.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We were in attendance in a capacity to prevent breach of the peace only.”