Traveller site where 'guns and drugs were hidden in toilet blocks' was 'no longer safe' say council chiefs

-Credit: (Image: William Lailey / SWNS)
-Credit: (Image: William Lailey / SWNS)


A traveller site in Bolton where guns were found was 'no longer safe' council chiefs say after police were called in to help close it down. But town hall bosses insist they are helping residents to temporarily relocate.

A court last week issued a three-month closure order for Crompton Lodge in the Moses Gate area of the town. Members of the traveller community have lived there for around 20 years.

Bolton Council applied for the measure "following a series of incidents at the site involving drugs, serious violent crime, and firearms."

READ MORE: Large police presence as caravan park shut down with families told to leave

Among the incidents that were cited were the use of toilet blocks to store drugs and guns, stolen vehicles being found on the site, and its CCTV cameras being repeatedly damaged.

Whilst there has also recently been a "serious" attack on a council liaison officer as well as the "illegal abstraction of electricity" which resulted in power being shut off at the site, the council say.

Police at the site this morning -Credit:Manchester Evening News
Police at the site this morning -Credit:Manchester Evening News

"Ongoing criminal and threatening behaviour had meant the site was no longer safe for residents, maintenance workers, visiting council staff, or other agencies" a council statement said.

"It was also negatively impacting residents living near to Crompton Lodge as well as placing a significant drain on both police and council resources."

The order was granted by Manchester Magistrates Court and states that 'access to the premises is prohibited by all persons' until October 3 this year. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers accompanied council officials to the site this morning (Monday, July 8) to enforce it.

The site has been closed by a court for three months -Credit:Manchester Evening News
The site has been closed by a court for three months -Credit:Manchester Evening News

A large police response was pictured outside the entrances to the site and on Moses Gate. A number of Tactical Aid Unit vans were pictured lining the road, as well as the GMP dogs unit.

GMP confirmed that occupants on the site 'vacated the premises without issue'. The council insists residents will be "fully supported" to temporarily locate.

They say all those leaving were offered a "comprehensive support package" including " access to reserved temporary accommodation" and "measures to ensure there is no disruption to school attendance. "

Council chiefs said it was no longer safe -Credit:Manchester Evening News
Council chiefs said it was no longer safe -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr Nick Peel, said: "As the judge acknowledged, the council has always understood that Crompton Lodge is, first and foremost, a home and a place that is much loved by the families who live there.

“The safety and wellbeing of those tenants has been the council’s key priority throughout this process, and the decision to pursue a closure order was never taken lightly.

“However, the overwhelming evidence presented to the court shows we had reached a point where it was no longer possible to safely maintain the site.

The leader of Bolton Council Coun Nick Peel -Credit:Manchester Evening News
The leader of Bolton Council Coun Nick Peel -Credit:Manchester Evening News

“It would have been unacceptable to continue with the site as it was, a situation which harmed tenants, local residents, and the wider Traveller community.

“Our focus now turns to supporting our tenants to find a new home in a safe and secure environment, while the site remains closed and secure.”

A GMP spokesperson said: "There was a police presence around Crompton Lodge in Bolton this morning (08/07/2024) while we assisted council staff in executing a closure order to prohibit access to the caravan park.

"Occupants vacated the premises without issue and residents who have a tenancy agreement with Bolton Council are being supported throughout the closure process."

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