Yorkshire Evening Post
Travellers have returned to Middleton after security measures around playing fields were breached.
The area has been free of Traveller camps for around two years but after a group was evicted from land in Throstle Road last week, they moved a few hundred yards away to Middleton Park Avenue.
Around seven caravans, four horses and a number of cars and vans got past soil barriers around the fields last week.
Dot Mounteney, chair of Middleton Community Group, said: “We had them a couple of years ago and they made a right mess – they even put toilets out for them and they pushed them over.”
She said that the soil barriers have eroded over time and need redoing, while the Throstle Road site was secured by a gate but that has been broken.
She said: “We know they’ve got to have somewhere to go but they should put them in special areas. They don’t take any notice of bans – they go anywhere.”
Jack Sutcliffe, a caretaker at a neighbouring building, said: “They are stopping the kids from playing on there.
“I have heard the residents complaining, saying they can’t walk their dogs too.”
Unauthorised Traveller sites have become a perennial issue in Leeds, with Leeds City Council spending £1.9m in clean-up and legal costs between 2004 and 2010.
Coun Kim Groves (Lab, Middleton Park) said: “We’re working with the council and its partners to ensure that the appropriate action is taken to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”
She said a number of residents have spoken to councillors about it.
The council announced earlier this year that it would spend £1m of government funds on 12 new permanent pitches in the city to address the needs of Travellers.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are aware that they are there and are following our usual procedures.”