The travellers on The Links

The travellers on The Links
The travellers on The Links

Angus Council is continuing to monitor a travellers’ encampment which recently set up on The Links in Montrose.

The encampment, which has around eight caravans, has caused upset for many locals.

One woman, who didn’t wish to be named, told the Review: “Every year the travellers appear on the same site.

“Why is nothing being done to prevent them returning? The main stage for MoFest will be near the site, what is that going to look like to visitors?

“The tourist season is just around the corner - we can’t have caravans littering The Links.

“There are also many dogs at the site which are particularly off-putting for locals who are walking their own dogs.

“The dogs are barking and running out of control and are keeping residents in the local area up at night.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “We are aware of the encampment at the Links in Montrose and will continue to monitor the situation in line with our policies and procedures.”

Councillor David May recently wrote on his blog: “In the past as soon as travellers parked on The Links, the police as well as the council would make contact with them and within about three days of days they would gone.

“The council still continue to play the role they did but following contact with the police I was told by them that their ‘approach to travellers changed significantly following the inception of Police Scotland’.

“Our partners at the Joint Services Team are fully aware of the changes. In simple terms Police Scotland will monitor encampments and deal with elements of criminality. We no longer seek to prosecute for trespass offences.

“It seems the police have stopped charging the travellers and as a result, in Montrose, the travellers have been there for over a week so far.

“Many local people have contacted me about this and I am unable to understand or explain to them why the police no longer play the role they used to do.

“I have nothing but praise for our local police as in all my contacts with them they could not be more helpful. However, the centralisation of the police has been, in my view, a failure as we are seeing in Montrose and Angus a loss of police services.”

In response to Mr May’s comments, Chief Inspector Gordon Milne told the Review: “The response to un-authorised gypsy traveller encampments in Angus is consistent with Police Scotland’s response across the whole of the country.

“Sometimes emotive language can be used where such encampments exist, which, in my view, does not help any situation.

“It is my responsibility to keep everyone in Angus safe, and ensure they remain safe - this includes all members of the community, transient or otherwise.”

Mr Milne continued: “Where my officers are made aware of an un-authorised encampment, they will engage with the gypsy travellers and continue to monitor the site.

“I am updated personally on the existence of the locations of all un-authorised encampments in Angus.

“My local policing inspectors are also fully aware and ensure these encampments, while they exist, are monitored on a regular basis.

“At the same time we support the Local Authority as they assess, manage and undertake their responsibilities in managing these sites.

“If any criminality happens in Angus no matter where, officers will attend and deal with the issue robustly, fairly and proportionately.”

The Review contacted Angus Council in regards to the issue of dogs barking, and because it is a public space, and we were referred to the Angus Council website which stated: “The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 empowers uniformed police officers to deal with this type of complaint (dogs barking). For more information on this please contact your local police office.”