Neighbours living near a Traveller site in Cullompton claim their dogs are being attacked and people are scared to go outside.

Mid Devon District Council said on Sunday it closed Lord's Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton because a group had set up camp. On Monday, the council reopened the site, but said Travellers had arrived at Culm Valley Sports Centre and that would be closed.

The local authority said the legal route to disperse the travellers was under way.

On Tuesday, resident Bobby Jo spoke to DevonLive about the situation saying: “We believe they are waiting for a court order to get them off, but in the meantime, their dogs have been attacking the people going past and the sports centre has closed and everything has stopped there. People are now keeping their dogs in because they're attacking them.

“A lady was talking to me at the end of the curb where I live and five dogs came after her two dogs. She is a pensioner in her 80s and the little terrier went for her. I got back behind the gate just in time. They have also messed all over the place, and are causing a lot of trouble.

“Everyone is so scared to come past with their dogs because they've been attacking them.

“It’s been very quiet here since they arrived, usually you see a lot of dog walkers as we’re close to the CCA Fields but there has been none going past at all.

“I phoned 999, and they said until a crime had been committed, they couldn’t do anything. Because I reported the dogs being attacked, they said they could send an officer down, and they have, who told me they have to be gone by 4pm.

“However it’s got the area in a bit of a panic, so neighbours have parked cars in gates blocking them from other fields nearby.

“There’s also litter all over the place, with the dogs messing on the grass too, and it’s not being picked up.”

She said at 3.30pm today - Tuesday, April 16 - more enforcement officers had arrived.

Enforcement officers arrive in Cullompton
Enforcement officers arrive in Cullompton

Mid Devon has been approached for further comment, but previously stated: “While our staff initially tried to keep Lord’s Meadow open, for the benefit of our customers, it quickly became apparent that for the safety of our staff and customers the centre had to temporarily close. A clean-up operation continues at Lords Meadow but the centre is open and we would like to thank our staff for ensuring the site reopened as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, the situation is now being repeated at Culm Valley and all the leisure facilities at Culm Valley will remain closed while the visitors remain on site. We would like to thank all of our customers for their patience over the past few days and apologise for the inconvenience this situation has caused.

“The Council is looking at what, if any, steps we can take to prevent such a closure again and considering ways to minimise disruption to our loyal customers, although this is difficult as we need to maintain access to our car parks for our customers. In the meantime the legal route to disperse the travellers on the site is underway.”

Mid Devon Council advises customers to keep an eye on their social media channels for more information. They have apologised for any inconvenience the situation may cause customers.