Travellers play ‘cat and mouse’ with Leeds council officers

15 april 2011.'Travellers on spare land behind the former Rising Sun pub on Kirkstall Road, Leeds.
15 april 2011.'Travellers on spare land behind the former Rising Sun pub on Kirkstall Road, Leeds.
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EVICTED travellers who illegally set up camp on public land have moved just a few hundred yards down the road.

The group who moved on to grass land next to Radio Aire, in Kirkstall Road, last Wednesday, were evicted by Leeds City Council yesterday.

But they have now set up camp behind the nearby Rising Sun Trading Post.

The switch has sparked the council into pursuing another eviction notice.

Coun John Illingworth (Lab, Kirkstall), said: “You can’t do this sort of thing. In recent years it’s become a tactic of travellers to raise the stakes. It’s not acceptable to leave it as it is.”

Around 15 caravans, four horses and several cars made the move on to the grassy area that backs on to Wolseley Road, in Burley.

StreetScene refuse collectors cleaned up the old site yesterday morning although horse manure was left dotted around.

Coun Illingworth added: “It’s upsetting the public because it’s not acceptable to turn people’s backyards into a kid’s playground.”

The area behind the Rising Sun has a children’s play area built on to it and backs on to residential housing.

The councillor added: “It is a throwback to a bygone age when there was space for people to travel and camp on public space.”

West Yorkshire Police have been monitoring the situation and are patrolling the area surrounding the new site.

Coun Illingworth added that the travellers were playing “cat and mouse” with the council and that moving the travellers on was becoming a “bottomless pit”.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “It is council-owned land so we will now be seeking a court order to evict them from this land.”

This is the latest in a series of eviction battles against travellers dotted around Leeds.

Sites in areas all over the city such as Wortley and Cross Green have been targetted by travellers in recent months.

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