Police criticised over reaction to alleged crime wave caused by travellers in Market Deeping

Mess said to have been left by the group of travellers. Pic: Cllr Hiller
Mess said to have been left by the group of travellers. Pic: Cllr Hiller

Police have been criticised for the way they dealt with travellers said to have caused a crime wave in Market Deeping last weekend.

The travellers set up camp on Thursday, July 4 in Maxey, a short walk from Market Deeping, and are then said to have caused chaos, with children invading a primary school, a teacher being assaulted, and even defecating on a pub floor. There were also allegations they stole from businesses, raced through fields and left piles of rubbish.

Mess said to have been left by the group of travellers. Pic: Cllr Hiller

Mess said to have been left by the group of travellers. Pic: Cllr Hiller

The travellers were moved on by Peterborough City Council on Sunday - but Councillor Virginia Moran, who represents Market and West Deeping for South Kesteven District Council, said the police presence was ‘not good enough.’

She said: “The travellers tore through the town like wild animals, but the police were nowhere to be seen.

“There was CCTV, and hundreds of eye witnesses. There were more than 50 calls made to police, and there was nothing from them.”

Cllr Moran said she and other councillors were now trying to arrange a meeting with Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones to discuss the problems.

Lincolnshire Police said they had arrested three people over the weekend in connection with the activity – one person for drug driving, one person for breach of bail, and a group of youths who were given ‘words of advice’ regarding their behaviour around pupils at William Hildyard School.

Fiona Griffiths, executive headteacher at William Hildyard Primary School said: “On Friday afternoon whilst some of our Year 6 pupils were enjoying their Forest School session, four primary-aged boys from a local travellers’ site entered our Forest School area by climbing over the fence.

“The school children had just finished their hot chocolate and biscuits and were waiting to leave. The Forest School staff handled the situation quickly and responsibly in escorting the boys away from the premises. ”

Peterborough City Cllr Peter Hiller, who represents the Glinton and Castor ward, where the travellers set up their camp, said: “There was a huge amount of disruption in Market Deeping, and the police response has been sporadic, from what I have seen.”

Insp Ian Martin, from Lincolnshire Police, said: “The actions taken by Lincolnshire Police Officers over the previous days in arresting a person on the site for a Failure to Appear Warrant, recovering stolen items along with three stolen dogs, and the pro-active work of an arrest for providing a positive drugs wipe while driving show the positive impact and presence that has been had.

“Acting impartially and without favour is part of policing as a whole, and the circumstances in the Deepings have not been any different.”