Cat-and-mouse Tangmere travellers game continues

The travellers' site by Casson's Restaurant, Tangmere.    Picture by Louise Adams C131115-1
The travellers' site by Casson's Restaurant, Tangmere. Picture by Louise Adams C131115-1

A ‘CAT-AND-MOUSE’ game has continued in Tangmere – as travellers once more stayed one step ahead of the authorities.

“They’re making idiots of us,” said Brian Wood, vice-chairman of Tangmere Parish Council

“It’s getting ridiculous that they have this flexibility to move from site to site. They’re just hopping pitches.”

Last week the Observer reported caravans returned to Tangmere for the fourth time in four weeks, moving onto the A27 layby near Cassons restaurant, then onto the village’s recreation field, then back to the layby.

The bizarre scenario continued this week as they then left the layby on Sunday evening (August 18) and moved onto the Tangmere airfield, where previously 40 caravans were sited in July.

Tangmere Parish Council chairman Andrew Irwin previously described the situation as being like ‘cat-and mouse’.

Following the latest incursion on Monday, steps were being taken to remove the caravans from the airfield.

At an emergency parish council meeting on Thursday, the council voted in favour of accepting a quote of £4,025 from Eartham Sawmills to place 175 wooden posts in the ground around the village’s recreation field to prevent vehicles gaining access.

It was hoped the posts could be positioned by the end of August.

“There’s no room for complacency,” Cllr Irwin told the meeting.

The village has previously taken steps to protect its field, which included hiring hay bales to barricade it from caravans in July.

“It was amazing to me we had pensioners patrolling the recreation field and no obvious sign of any police presence there,” said Cllr Phil Thomas.

Following the previous incursion by travellers onto Tangmere airfield, concrete blocks were placed behind the gate to prevent entry by the same route, but Cllr Wood said the latest caravans accessed the airfield by a different route from Oving, cutting through a padlock and gaining access that way.

Having left the A27 layby at Casson’s restaurant, owner Cass Casson said he believed the Highways Agency was preparing to put in concrete blocks preventing access to the layby, with a view to finding a more permanent solution.

He said he wrote to MP Andrew Tyrie about the repetitive situation with the travellers, but was yet to receive a reply.

“I think many of us are totally perplexed as to why this situation arises and will no doubt continue,” he said.