False claims 80 people involved in brawl at Seaham travellers’ site

Gypsy caravans parked in fields aong the coast road between Seaham and Ryhope on Monday.

Gypsy caravans parked in fields aong the coast road between Seaham and Ryhope on Monday.

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A town’s leading police officer has said it has been quiet during the last two days after 1,000 caravans set up camp on a seafront field.

Inspector Darren Walton has said it has been calm in Seaham, besides an “obvious influx of people”, with a low number of incidents reported.

The group continue to cooperate with local police and every effort is being made to minimize community disruption.

Inspector Darren Walton

Police say an estimated 1,000 caravans have arrived at the cliff top field since Sunday, with the event hosting a gypsy church convention.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team has said it has handled two false reports claiming there was disorder.

One claimed there were 80 people fighting close to the site, off the B1257 Seaham to Ryhope road, and another complained of noise.

When officers attended, they found no disturbances.

Since then, the team has identified the local man who made the claim of a brawl and he has been “spoken to about wasting police time” but will not face any further action.

While the Crow’s Nest pub’s management has taken a decision to close until Friday, no other businesses have shut following the travellers’ arrival.

A group of people were asked to leave the Hat and Feathers Wetherspoons pub in Church Street yesterday, but no disorder was reported.

Inspector Walton said: “Six people were asked to leave and left as requested.
“We believe they were from the site and were perhaps a bit rowdy and they left of their own accord and there wasn’t any closure.”

Reports come after police released details of plans to help move the group from the plot.

The team, which is working alongside the council, is putting together plans to ensure the visitors leave the site without incident on Friday from 9am.

Around 80% are expected to head south on the A19, and the remainder north on the route.

Inspector Walton added: “I will ensure that the route is announced tomorrow so that it can be avoided by local residents.

“The group continue to cooperate with local police and every effort is being made to minimize community disruption.”