Irish Travellers descended on the Wealstone Lane field, Upton, last night (Thursday) but today police officers issued ‘Direction to leave land’ notices and by around 3pm they had all left as requested.
Travellers who parked up on council land adjacent to Chester FC ground overnight on Monday had threatened to remain put despite the council obtaining a notice requesting them to leave by 2.30pm but by 4pm they had all gone.
The Irish Travellers told The Chronicle they were upset because Cheshire Police had seized a van and were refusing to hand it back.
Cheshire Police spokesman Daniel Hinde said: “We can confirm that a van was seized from an address on Bumpers Lane on Wednesday June 17 in relation to a suspected theft. Three men were also arrested on suspicion of theft, they have all been released on police bail until July 10, 2015.”
While police were ensuring the Travellers left the site off Sovereign Way, near the football ground, word came through on the radio that the Upton site was all clear.
One of the Travellers from the Wealstone Lane site, Mary McDonagh, 30, a mother-of-four young children, had earlier told The Chronicle there was a shortage of official sites and a nearby site at Ellesmere Port was 'full'.
Accusing the police of being 'biased' against them, she said: “We are members of the travelling community. There’s a lot of young kids. It’s summer time. We’re all travelling but the police are taking away our culture. We’ve went on council property so we wouldn’t be a nuisance to the local businesses. We want a few days. We don’t want to be getting kicked off every single day.”
Mrs McDonagh claimed the Travellers had accessed the QE2 playing fields through an open gate. She said it was a return trip to the site because they had previously set up camp there five years ago.
The Traveller spokeswoman, who explained her people’s love for the open road, added. “It’s our culture. It’s our blood. A house is a prison, four walls. This is our freedom. I was born at the side of a road. I wasn’t even born in a hospital.”