Fury after travellers defecate on Newcastle cricket club pitch and leave area in 'disgusting' state

Daniel Hollandin Multi-sports venues

A 'significant amount of discarded waste' was found on the site in Cowgate, while locals have complained a cricket pitch was used as a toilet

Cowgate Cricket Club, McKendrick Villas, Cowgate, Newcastle

Sports pitches in Newcastle were used "as a toilet" and left in a "disgusting" state after travellers set up camp on a neighbouring field.

Complaints were made after human faeces, broken glass, and other rubbish was left on pitches at the Cowgate Sports Club, home to local cricket and football teams.

Travellers set up camp next to the site in McKendrick Villas in late July and left last weekend after Newcastle City Council took court action to try and have them evicted.

It is the second time in the space of a few weeks that a group of travellers have arrived at the Cowgate site, with the eviction of the first group last month sparking a row in which a city councillor accused the local authority of being "hostile" towards the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community and urged bosses to reverse a stance claiming there is no demand for a designated traveller site in Newcastle.

But the most recent group was described as "more anti-social" and left locals furious at the mess they left behind.

Caroline Adams, whose partner is the Cowgate Cricket Club's groundsman, claimed the travellers had "no regard for the environment they were staying in" and left the wicket covered in "disgusting" faeces, as well as leaving broken bottles lying around and breaking locks to gain access to the site.

The 53-year-old, from Kenton, added that the council "should be securing that ground properly" after two incidents in the space of a month.

Some of the debris left by travellers on the Cowgate Cricket Club ground in McKendrick Villas

Majid Latif, secretary and treasurer of cricket club, said the pitches were treated "as a toilet" but that the club has been given assurances from the council that action will be taken to prevent a repeat of the damage.

He added: "It was a tough situation. I don't know what the council could have done. Should they have put some toilet blocks there, or would that just encourage more people to come?

"As soon as the travellers were gone on Sunday, the council and police moved straight in to secure the site and then they met with us on Monday. They have given us reassurances that they are going to secure it so that it will not be possible for travellers to get on that field."

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: "A number of travellers arrived on land at McKendrick Villas, Cowgate, in late July.

"Officers from our Community Safety Team attended to liaise with those in attendance and to carry out subsequent reviews of the site while they were present."

"Upon inspection, there was found to be significant amounts of discarded waste at the site, the area had been allowed to deteriorate, and unfortunately mess had been allowed to spread to an adjoining sports field. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable, it has an impact on residents and businesses in the area, and as a result we decided not to tolerate this camp."

"Due to the mess, officers engaged with users of the sports facilities to ask they temporarily suspend sporting activities on their grounds so a full assessment could be made to ensure there was no risk to the public, and we would like to thank club members for their cooperation."

"The council issued a Direction to Leave Notice to the travellers and as they opted to remain on site, formal legal proceedings were lodged with the courts on July 28. Before this was heard at court, however, the group departed the site on August 1."

"Following their departure, steps were taken to re-secure access to help prevent further occurrences. We are now in the process of clearing the site to make sure it is safe for members of the public to return to and hope to have this resolved swiftly."

To view the original article click here

Article Tags:
Multi-sports venues