Police alerted as gypsies use 12 dumper trucks to illegally build permanent camp in just a few hours under cover of darkness


Police have been called in after gypsies built an illegal camp near one of North Staffordshire’s most popular pubs under the cover of darkness.

Two park homes and around six caravans are currently in situ after a field close to the Swan With Two Necks pub at Blackbrook was covered in 700 tonnes of hardcore and fenced off in the space of a few hours.

The travellers have bought the Blackbrook Nursery, off the A53 Newcastle Road, but never secured planning permission after the site was deemed unsuitable for such a development.

Residents then alerted the police after seeing around 12 dumper truckers arrive from 3am on Saturday (May 23).

Officers are now working with Newcastle Borough Council on the next steps.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “We have been made aware of the travelling community who have moved to private land off Newcastle Road. The initial report was made on Saturday morning.

“Officers are working closely with our partners, including the local authority.”

An aerial view over the Gypsy site that set up overnight in Blackbrook without planning permission

The travellers’ decision to move on to the land without having secured planning permission has divided StokeonTrentLive readers.

While some believe they should be allowed to stay after purchasing the plot, others insist they should abide by the rules.

Leigh Askey, from Blackbrook, said: “As a resident  and living very close to said site i would like to distance myself from those who feel the need to complain.

“I would like to welcome our new neighbours to the area and keep up the good work. It looks like you have done a cracking job so far.”

Janie Boswell said: “If they own the land and they’re not on your driveway or garden what is the problem? Gypsies have to live somewhere. You’d only complain if they was on your village green or car park.

“Most people just want to live with their families in peace. I say give them a chance and I am sure once they’re finished, it will look lovley.”

And Tracy Weston said: “It looks like they have done a brilliant job. I say live and let live.

“Life is too short and it’s their land and they need somewhere to live.

“As long as they keep themselves to themselves they are not bothering anyone else.”

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However, Ron Gunn said: “They have no planning permission, they’re fully aware their previous application was rejected. The reasons why it was rejected were all reasonable.

“If I bought a plot of land in a conservation area and built a house on it without planning permission I doubt people would all leap to my defence.

“I don’t think we should develop double standards just because we’re talking about a minority group.”

Residents are furious and concerned about their local water supply becoming contaminated

And Chris Pickin said: “To be fair nobody should break planning rules but everyone needs to live somewhere. More transit sites are needed for their community at the end of day.”

A total of 90 objections were put to the council last year with residents complaining about sewage provisions, noise, light pollution and the impact on the roads.

Severn Trent water also raised concerns about possible contamination to the local drinking water bore hole.

Councillor Paul Northcott, cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “We are aware of the situation and have been to the site. The welfare and safety of all concerned is the first priority and we are working with our partners, including Staffordshire Police, on the next steps.”





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