Travellers set up camp on Earl of Durham’s doorstep

Travellers parked up on the site of a former  Garden centre on the Bowes and Lambton Estate near Bournmoor.

Travellers parked up on the site of a former Garden centre on the Bowes and Lambton Estate near Bournmoor.

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Police will be checking on the site of a former garden centre today after it was taken over by dozens of travellers’ caravans.

The caravans appeared on the site of the former Bournmoor garden centre, off the A183 between Shiney Row and Chester-le-Street, on Tuesday night.

We have had no problem with them while they have been there. We will be checking to make sure they have moved on as they said they would.

Police spokeswoman

One witness who contacted the Echo said: “Between 40 and 50 caravans were seen taking over the site at approximately 9pm.

“At around 10 pm, when I passed the site again, there was approximately 10-12 police cars and vans and a large group of people converged.”

The former garden centre site is part of the Lambton Estate, the seat of the Earl of Durham.

A Durham County Council spokeswoman said the authority would not be involved in dealing with the travellers because the garden centre site was private property.

A Lambton Estates spokesman declined to comment on the situation but a Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said it was understood the travellers had reached an agreement with the landowner to leave the site last night.

Officers would be checking today to ensure that they had done so.

“We received a call on Tuesday, August 18, to say there were travellers that had gone onto the Lambton Estate and had moved concrete blocks to do so,” she said.

“We have had no problem with them while they have been there.

“They have reached an agreement with the land agent that they will only stay until 9pm.

“We will be checking to make sure they have moved on as they said they would,” she added.