Home U.K Travellers 'cause £5,000 damage to hotel car park' with 'senseless vandalism'

Travellers 'cause £5,000 damage to hotel car park' with 'senseless vandalism'

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Joanne Potter, of Potters International Hotel in Aldershot, Hampshire, said a group had illegally camped on the car park from March 26 to March 29. They only left after private bailiffs were hired, reports Hampshire Live.

But Ms Potter alleges she found several hotel signs were left smashed, litter and toilet waste strewn across the ground and hotel gates broken.

She claims: “It’s going to cost a fortune to replace everything, it’s just senseless vandalism. There is not a sign that isn’t damaged, and this is the last thing we need.

“We haven’t been open and we didn’t need this extra expense at this time, it is an absolutely disgrace.”

Dog and chicken mess was also left on the site, the business owner added.

The hotel has already faced financial difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Ms Potter estimates £5,000 will have to be spent on repairs and the cleanup operation.

She claims: “Anyone who can have a travelling life should do it, good on them and I wish I could do the exact same thing, but please do not devalue other people’s hard work.

“We’re a big business but can you imagine someone smaller having to cope with this, it’s appalling.”

Bob Potter, co-owner of the hotel, claims: “I am devastated at the way people have behaved, to destroy someone’s property like this. If they had behaved themselves I wouldn’t mind them staying but I can’t put up with this ever again.”

The hotel has since placed blocks to the entrance of the car park to stop anyone else stopping overnight.

Following the incident, Ms Potter has urged the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community to respect private businesses.

She said: “I want to reach out to the community and say, please just have a thought for the land that you arrive on and just have some respect and don’t leave a mess.

“Have some thought for the landowners that are already struggling because of Covid, this has added extra strain to the whole thing.”

Police are investigating the alleged behaviour.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “We received a report on 26 March of an unauthorised encampment in the car park of the Potters International Hotel, Aldershot, and our officers visited the site to assess the situation.

“We also received report of criminal damage to bricks and a flower bed. The encampment moved on of their own accord on March 29.”

Hampshire Live has reached out to Friends, Families and Travellers for comment. Friends, Families and Travellers is a national charity works on behalf of all Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.



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