Residents fear travellers to blame for disruptive and suspicious behaviour
A GROUP of travellers who moved briefly into the town, occupying a section of the pay and display car park in Well Street, have moved on.
The long stay Cheadle car park is owned by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and it is this authority which has jurisdiction over the use of the site.
It is understood that the gypsies moved into the town at some point over the weekend and although this coincided with the arrival of Pinders Circus, which has been entertaining residents throughout the week, the two groups are not associated in any way.
A large number of concerned residents raised the matter with Cheadle Town Council and a report had been made by the town clerk to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
The District Council has the jurisdiction to deal with unauthorised camping on land it owns, however it cannot remove gypsies immediately.
The Government advises that when travellers are not causing a problem, they are able to stay. Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 however the council has powers to serve a ‘Direction to Move’ notice on any encampment which involves vehicles.
Under this ‘Direction’ gypsies and travellers usually have to move on within a maximum of ten days.
A spokesperson for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council confirmed that travellers had been using Well Street car park and that Council staff had visited the location to assess the situation and advise the people on site that they are on a Council-owned car park without the authority of the landowner.
The Council was informed on Monday that the families intended to stay for up to two nights however, they had vacated the car park by yesterday lunchtime, Tuesday.
Although neither the police nor the council were able to confirm a link, since the arrival of the gypsies there have been a number of reports of suspicious vehicles and disruptive behaviour in and around the town.
Several residents took to the social networking site Facebook to warn neighbours of suspicious vehicles being driven onto residential driveways with occupants said to be looking closely inside homes and outbuildings.
Police told the Times and Echo how on Monday 10th July they received reports of two suspicious males looking up and down driveways, in particular looking at machinery in the area.
The male’s were described as white males with Irish accents aged about 40, smartly dressed.
The Times and Echo is also aware of a couple of disturbances at The Wheatsheaf public house in High Street over the weekend.
A police spokesperson confirmed: “We received a call just after 11.10pm on Sunday 9th July from the Wheatsheaf reporting a disruption between customers.
“Patrols attended but those responsible had already left and there were no offences recorded.”
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