Travellers cause half-term misery for tourists after invading car park near Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon

Travellers are causing half-term misery for families and tourists after taking over a car park near Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The 15-strong group of caravans, towed by a fleet of 4x4s and large cars, pitched up outside the town’s leisure centre on Wednesday (26/10) afternoon.

Pictures show rubbish and children’s toys strewn across the car park, which is just yards from the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre and near the bard's birthplace.

The illegal camp is also less than a mile from the constituency office of Nadhim Zahawi, the new Conservative Party Chairman, who is MP for the town.

Shockingly, it is the fourth time in four years travellers have moved onto the council-owned car park in the town.

Residents fear the town is an “easy target” for travellers after they previously set up camp in 2018, 2019 and again last year.

Business owner Graham Stanton, 45, said: “It’s a ridiculous situation to have the car park completely at the mercy of these illegal travellers.

“Every year they turn up on the car park and every year the council serve them notice to leave after a few days free stay.

“Stratford relies on tourism but businesses are at risk if people simply stay away because of the travellers who see us as an easy target.”

Holidaymaker Jennifer Mason, 40, from Berkshire, is visiting the town with her husband David, 41.

She said: “We were actually having a mini-break here a couple of years ago and the travellers were here then too.

“I think it’s a shame the council can’t do more to prevent them from setting up here. They do cause a lot of mess and disruption.

“It’s a shame because travellers have to go somewhere but it’s not fair the businesses and residents of one town get hit year after year.”

Stratford District Council have confirmed they have ordered the travellers to leave by 12pm on Friday (28/10).

Councillor Craig Bourne said: “The council is aware of the unauthorised encampment at the leisure centre coach and lorry park.

“The occupiers of the vehicles and caravans have been served a notice of direction to leave the land by midday on Friday, 28th October.”