Thursday, August 10, 2006

Travellers face terror checks in South Shields


Travellers, and terror, the story.

I bet you are pretty fed up with hearing and reading about his story today, back on 13th. April I posted in this blog about this matter, and those Councillors and officials who regularly visit this website should have taken heed of my warning then. However, no action was taken and their record will once again be marked as "failure".

At lunchtime today I walked into South Shields with my camera with the intention of taking a few pictures for future use in Curly's Photoshop, as well as picking up a sandwhich to bring back to the Corner Shop. On my way back I passed through St. Hilda's churchyard and carried on past the old St. Hilda's Colliery Memorial Wheel (which, by the way is so overgrown with shrubbery that it has almost disappeared from view, it's plinth is badly damaged too and makes a very sad and poor memorial to those who died in the explosion, but that's another story) as I entered the small car park adjacent to Station Road I stopped to take a picture of the Town Hall tower and clock, and noticed that a group of travellers had set up camp in the former site of the St. Hilda's allotments. As I was taking my pictures I was shocked and terrorised by at least six agitated and snarling dogs, two of which proceeded to bite at my feet and legs, as though they hadn't been fed for days.

This wasn't too much of a problem, worrying but not drastic, I was wearing safety boots, so they could not injure my feet. Best put the camera down and put my hands in my pockets, I thought. It was then that the stocky male at the rear of the picture started to urge the dogs to attack and bite me;

"Go on, see him off!
Bite the fucker!
Go on, fuck off you bastard!
Get out of here!"


Sorry to be so plain and graphic with the language, it is verbatim. I calmly walked away considering how much worse this could have been for an unsuspecting child or lady, or anyone without safety boots on their feet. I decided that the best thing to do was to telephone the police and the local council.

A nice wpc came to see me at the Corner Shop shortly afterwards asking if I wished to press charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act, "this shouldn't be necessary" I repiled, seeing as I had suffered no injuries, but I did ask that they visit the camp and issue a caution. I also spoke to a man in South Tyneside Council's ASBO unit who is going to take the matter up with the relevant department. He was unsure if the land is owned by the Council, I suspect that it is because it is part of the tranches of land compulsorily purchased to make way for the new Asda development.

So, hopefully, after being visited by the Police and officials from the Council to check on these dangerous dogs and the legality of their tenure, these travellers, so close to our new shops in the town centre, ought (with a bit of luck) to moving away soon.

I feel so awkward having to say "I TOLD YOU SO", but the writing was on the wall back in April, and the site has never been adequately secured to prevent access. No doubt we hard pressed Council tax payers will face another huge bill to clear the mess when the travellers do decide to go, and there will be legal costs involved too.

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Curly
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