Dozens of caravans pitch up on popular city playing fields

-Credit: (Image: Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)
-Credit: (Image: Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

Dozens of caravans have settled on a city training ground after moving in overnight. Around 40 caravans pitched up on Bartley Reds training ground in Northfield on Thursday evening, June 27.

The grounds, used by Bartley Reds FC as well as community groups, are surrounded by a fence and padlocked gate. The football club told BirminghamLive the unauthorised camp could "be a big hit on the club" and they will asses the damage after the authorities have "done their bit."

One resident told BirminghamLive that cars, caravans and vans moved onto the green, based off Merritt's Brook Lane, late on Thursday night. When BirminghamLive visited the site on Friday morning, there were around 20 caravans left, which were condensed into a spot on the field. The resident said the fields were used for training in the week and children's activities at the weekend.

READ MORE: Death of three-year-old sparks Birmingham pavement parking protest as campaigners say 'chaos'

Stay up to date with the very latest from your Birmingham or West Midlands street or neighbourhood with our Birmingham News Email Updates sent straight to your inbox

Birmingham City Council told BirminghamLive: "The council has useable transit sites and plots for use by the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community – which is in line with Government policy – and details of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment carried out and updated in 2019 can be found on our website."

A resident who watched the fleet arrive on Thursday night, and did not want to be named, said: "They moved in last night, a lot of cars, caravans, vans. Must have busted the padlock off and arrived in convoy one after the other.

"They are now parked spread about all over the sports fields, these get used for training in the week and matches and training at weekends. Kids are going to be disappointed."

BirminghamLive contacted Bartley Reds FC and West Midlands Police for a comment. A Bartley Reds FC spokesperson said: "We were made aware late last night unfortunately. We will have to deal with the aftermath once the authorities have done their bit.

"Once we can get on to see what they have done, only then can we assess the cost of replacing anything that is stolen or damaged beyond repair, including the gates. This could be a big hit on the club."

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: "We're aware of a travellers camp on land off Field Avenue and we're working with partners to resolve the matter."