Queen’s Hospital Travellers claim they are ‘treated like animals’

Travellers at Queen's Hospital

Travellers at Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

Residents, politicians and the authorities reacted angrily to Travellers who pitched their caravans at Queen’s Hospital two days after they were evicted from another site.

But the Travellers claimed they had been “treated like animals” when they were forcibly evicted from a site they “respectfully” cared for.

Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell, went as far as to call for a law changes to “eject” Travellers quicker.

He said: “It is fundamentally wrong that they should act with such little consideration for local people.

“We cannot allow illegal occupation of land by Travellers to continue and robust action must be taken to set a clear example.”

Havering Council forcibly evicted the Travellers at 5.30pm from Westlands Playing Fields, in London Road, Romford, after gaining an order from Barkingside Magistrates’ Court seven hours earlier.

The park’s protection service towed the caravans to nearby Crows Lane which was deemed a safe place with no parking restrictions.

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But Simon, a Traveller in his 50s, who was staying at the site with his family, criticised the council’s behaviour in moving the caravans while the men were attending the birth of a relative. He said the council caused “thousands of pounds” of damage.

“They were very rude to my family,” he said. “They moved our caravans down the road and broke our televisions because they weren’t secured. They treated us like animals.”

He added that his family would never fly-tip as they are accused of doing and they left each site as clean as they found it. They then moved on to Romford Greyhound Stadium’s overflow car park and Jutsums Park, Jutsums Lane, before moving next to the children’s play park in Oldchurch Park on the land of the Rom Valley Way hospital.

Hospital managers Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) vowed to remove the Travellers “as quickly as possible” and said bollards would be installed to prevent their return.

The director of estates and facilities for hospital managers BHRUT, Jackie Nugent, said: “I would like to reassure our local residents that we are doing everything possible.”

Regulatory services cabinet member Cllr Osman Dervish added: “Those who enter and settle in our parks without authorisation must know that they will not be able to get away with such a blatant disregard of local residents amenity space.”