Travellers who caused misery for locals finally leave Oakham after four days of 'Mad Max' mayhem

·3-min read

Travellers who brought chaos to a market town in England's smallest county have finally begin to leave the site following four days of "Mad Max-style" mayhem. 

Around 1,500 gypsies descended on Rutland Showground in Oakham for a mass Pentecostal Christian event last weekend.  

Residents and local businesses made hundreds of complaints to police over the following days as the travellers caused "absolute carnage" around the quaint town. 

There were reports of drag racing, shoplifting and antisocial behaviour which forced some shops to close their doors and schools warning children not to walk alone. 

Leicestershire Police confirmed two arrests had been made in connection with the festival of Light and Life, which finished on Thursday (24/6).

This morning (Fri) a large number of caravans still remained pitched up at the showground while cars finally began to leave the site. 

Police officers were blocking vehicles from re-entering as motorist gradually began to exit.  

Local resident Carl Ford, 55, said: "The vast majority of them have been well behaved but a small number of them have caused absolute chaos.  

"We will be glad to see the back of this event, which hasn't been well marshalled from the start. 

"Last weekend was the worst but police did start clamping down on things over the following days. 

"I saw somebody say it like something from Mad Max and that was no exaggeration for that opening weekend.  

"Most people have been locked down in their own homes again until this all passes over. 

"They don't seem to be showing any urgent signs of leaving yet either, although some of them have been heading off today. I just hope they take their mess with them."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said earlier in the week: "I work on the street and live quite close by to the showground. 

"I've heard how they've been weeing in people's gardens and then running through the high street banging on windows. 

"It's been chaos and then there's the added traffic and all of their rubbish that they're just leaving around. 

"They just seem to be dumping their rubbish and running riot around the town. 

"It's a quiet place and we've only got a little high street but they've still found ways to cause havoc." 

The Rutland Agricultural Society hosted the event in 45 acres of fields for 1,500 adults and children in their own motor homes and caravans. 

Leicestershire Police said they received more than 100 calls regarding the event, mainly about antisocial behaviour and Covid breaches. 

Superintendent Jonny Starbuck said: "Initially we received over one hundred calls to police in relation to this event, mostly these calls to police were to notify us that it was happening and ask us if we were aware of the event. 

""There was considerable anti-social behaviour reported and we have made two arrests. 

"Since the policing operation was put in place we have seen these calls to police drop to twenty. 

"We are aware of non-payment for food and shoplifting from local businesses and we are working with them to ensure the right action is taken.  

"Mainly, we have had reports of anti-social behaviour and a few reports relating to covid compliance. 

"We understand that anti-social behaviour can have a significant impact on the local community and I would like to thank them for working with us on this matter and I would encourage them to continue to report incidents to us. 

"Again, we want to stress that this is a legal event and the majority of the people visiting are there to enjoy their faith.  

"There are only a few who are determined to engage in this negative behaviour. We will deal with those who commit crime swiftly and robustly." 

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