DCSIMG

Month closure for Leeds traveller arson attack centre

The incident scene.

The incident scene.

  • by Alison Bellamy
 

AN investigation into an alleged hate-crime on a gypsy and traveller support centre is continuing.

The centre at Cross Green Lane, Leeds, will be closed for at least a month while repairs are undertaken.

Fire caused “substantial” damage to the centre, which is used as a base for support, education and advice for travellers and gypsies in the Leeds area. It was also an information point for the public.

The arson attack on Wednesday, April 13, started at around 3.30am, and was purposely started at two points, said police and fire investigators.

Bosses of the Leeds Gyspy and Traveller Exchange (GATE) earlier said it had potentially devastated good work being done to ease tensions in Leeds between the public and travelling community.

Helen Jones, chief executive, said staff and centre users at the Crown Point House venue were still in shock.

She said: “It will be at least a month before the damage is repaired. We have closed until after Easter to give us time to get over the shock.”

Ms Jones said at the time they feared they may have been targeted by people intent on causing misery for travellers.

She added: “We work very hard with some of the most vulnerable people in society, who often have no permanent home.

“This centre is also used by the general public as a community point. The damaged area is where young people gather and children play.”

Ms Jones said that gypsies and travellers were one of the most deprived ethnic minority groups in the UK and that the centre was desperately needed.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman asked anyone with information to call Stainbeck CID via 0845 60 60 606.

 
 
 

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