A group of travellers have apologised to the Mid Devon community for any distress caused while stopping off in two leisure centres. Mid Devon District Council said on Sunday it closed Lord's Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton after a group arrived there.

On Monday, the council reopened the site but said travellers had arrived at Culm Valley Sports Centre and that would be closed.

The travellers left Cullompton on Tuesday, April 16, at around 5pm with enforcement officers and police attending. Their departure was done with minimal fuss barring an argument with a man who took a photograph.


DevonLive spoke to one of the travelling group who did not wish to be named. He said: “Gypsies are travellers; we like travelling around every summer.

“Unfortunately, we had to park up somewhere. The council won't give us enough sites, we're fighting for years for sites. We stopped in Cullompton, we didn’t have to come here, but the next town up, we're going to have the same problem again; how do we win?

“As you can see, there's not a paper on the ground, there's no s*** behind the caravans and, it’s all clean and tidy so the situation is very upsetting from our point of view.

“Councils don’t do anything for us. We just want to be left alone to live our lives, and ideally we’d like an authority to give us some sites.

“I know people don’t like us, but there's good and bad in everybody, don't paint us all with the same brush.

“The council for example, have supported all these people coming over from Ukraine, they're giving them accommodation, and we’re treated like dogs.

“Even the local shops and the local bars in towns and villages don't serve us food and won’t let the kids use the toilets. We went to the service station up here in Cullompton and they barred us for no reason when they discovered who we are.

“My message to people in Cullompton and Crediton where we came from this weekend is that we're sorry for giving you a hard time in the last few weeks. We are sorry if we caused any grief and hassle, but I blame the council. It's all the council's fault as if they gave us a site, we wouldn’t be doing this.

“Also, when it comes to litter, if the council put bins in the car park for us, you wouldn’t be finding it on the ground. Give us bins, give us water, we’re humans, not dirt.

“We've got kids, we've got pregnant women living in caravans. They’ve got to go to hospital and such. You don't see the council come out giving us letters here for health visitors or nurses and such.”

On the traveller lifestyle he said: “We come and go. We live caravans, we could be in Wales tomorrow, be in Scotland the next day. We could be anywhere.

“It’s a changing way of life, but we’re going to keep it going. We have people like Tyson Fury and Alfie Best doing well for himself, so it’s nice to see some travellers doing well for themselves. Like I say, there’s good and bad in everyone.”

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