ONCE again the Links at Montrose have been desecrated by an illegal encampment, of ‘travellers’ who have simply turned up, parked their caravans and treated the place as it was their own property.
They turned up last Wednesday and there were fears that their presence would disrupt the 450th anniversary celebrations at the Links, particularly on Friday when Scottish world-class golfer Catriona Matthew was attending the opening of the re-designed 11th hole, now 450 yards long.
Whilst that thankfully did not happen, there have been issues with the way the travellers have left the land.
They promised, as is always the case, that they would clear up all their rubbish, and the area would be left as pristine as it was when they arrived.
Indeed, there were media reports that this is what had happened.
But a reader, who has asked not to be named, hotly denies that this is true.
She wrote to us: “Well the travellers are gone, but I notice they left on their own terms and did not seem to be ‘moved on’.
“I walk my dog on that piece of gorse land and he has great fun chasing bunnies.
“But every time there are caravans there we have problems.
“One year it was very angry dogs running up to us really aggressively, the next year it was random and very large horses suddenly looming up before us.
“I know there are sensitive issues about Travellers, their rights to be there and their culture, etc., but what about other people’s rights?
“Yesterday on our walk, relieved that they were gone, we came across masses of human excrement and used toilet paper.
“It was really disgusting and so now I don’t go over there at all.
“Don’t they have sanitary toilets in their vans that they can empty hygienically?
“Will Angus Council, in their efforts to deal with the whole issue, go into this area and remove all the human faeces? It’s hard enough getting all dog owners to pick up their dog poo ... now we have people using public areas as an open sewer.
“I met some real caravanners who told me they would never return to Montrose as they were so disgusted by the mess their own dogs got into.
“I am usually a ‘live and let live’ sort of person but this is really not okay for an area so near to the skateboard park, the pitch and putt, the golf course and the Seafront Splash children’s play area.
“I hope our wannabe councillors-in-waiting take note of this and try to sort it out soon.”
In the past there have been difficulties in prosecuting travellers who have been camping illegally in Montrose.
In one case in court in Arbroath some years ago, the prosecution was unable to state the ownership of the land in question.
The travellers were in court to face a number of charges, but their defence solicitor argued successfully that because the ownership of the land did not constitute part of the charge, it was thereby fatally flawed.
If, for example, the court had made a finding of guilt and ordered compensation to be paid, there would be no person or body to whom it would have to be paid, which rendered the charge absurd.