THE travellers who set up camp at Lydiard Park at the weekend have moved on to another local beauty spot Shaw Forest Park.
Having spent just three days in a corner of Lydiard Park, the family attracted a number of complaints and left the site on Sunday night before arriving at Shaw Forest in West Swindon soon afterwards.
Both sites are owned by the council, and police have been monitoring the situation as it develops.
A dog walker in Shaw Forest Park, who declined to be named, said: “It seems the council are just going to be following them round cleaning up after them, first in Lydiard Park and now in Shaw Forest.
“If they had parked up in the car park it would not have been quite so bad, but they are in the trees and covering the top of Shaw Forest with their trucks. It is just being turned into a swamp.
“There is an open green right the way across the park and they have set up right in the far corner. They are taking up the space where all the kids usually play, and they have made the footpath into a quagmire.
“They should be made to go to the designated sites, but the council can’t force them to do that. They have taken down the barrier and taken the gate off its hinges so it is criminal damage as well. They have taken up the best part of the park.
“There are around a dozen caravans altogether spread out in the far corner. While those are parked it is the pick-up trucks going back and forward which are causing the damage. We had to grab up our dogs off the path when one passed us because it just wouldn’t slow down.”
Kevin Fisher, chairman of the Shaw Residents Association, said: “The travellers have moved on from Lydiard Park and camped their caravans up in Shaw Forest Park now.
“They are making a real mess and churning up the paths.”
Council officers have visited the site and will continue to liaise with police to determine the appropriate course of action.
A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “We are aware that the travellers have moved to Shaw Forest Park and council officers visited the site today.
“We will continue to monitor the site and will liaise with the police on the most appropriate action to take.”
Swindon Council has a designated traveller site at Chiseldon Firs, managed by the travellers liaison office, which can accommodate betwen 12 and 20 caravans.
Sgt Barry Reed, duty inspector for Swindon, said: “If we were to take any action we would need a complaint from the landowner, which in this case is the council.
“They would have to serve notice on the travellers, and for us to do anything about it we would have to be satisfied there are issues regarding noise, the number of vehicles, or any damage to property taking place.
“We will be monitoring the situation and working alongside the council to see what action if any would need to be taken.”