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Netherton community rallies round to clear up after travellers

Travellers quit Netherton football field - but leave mess behind

Netherton Junior Football Club fields on Hawkroyd Bank Raod, cleaned up after travellers pitched on the site. Nick Sanderson a coach at the club who has praised the actions of local residents and Kirklees Council helping to clear rubbish and waste from the site so that a football tournament planned for the weekend can still go ahead.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Netherton footballers are all set to host a weekend soccer tournament – after a massive clear-up of rubbish left by travellers.

Police served a “direction to leave” earlier this week on travellers who pitched up with nine caravans, a motorhome, vans and cars on the playing fields used by Netherton Juniors FC.

Club officials – who had been unable to get onto the pitch – discovered human faeces by the portable building used by the young footballers and by trees surrounding the playing fields at Hawkroyd Bank Road. The pitch was littered with dog dirt, broken glass and household waste including odd shoes, pieces of clothing, food and drink cans.

Nick Sanderson, a coach at the club, said training and matches had to be cancelled while the travellers were on the site because it would have been too dangerous for the youngsters.

Travellers still occupying the Netherton Junior Football Club ground on Hawkroyd Bank Road, Netherton.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

He said: “Every caravan seemed to have a dog running off the lead. We had umpteen incidents of aggression. I was told to leave ‘for my own health.’”

Mr Sanderson praised the efforts of local residents and the council to clear rubbish and waste from the site to enable this weekend’s football tournament to go ahead.

“Within minutes of the last car going I managed to lock the entrance and Netherton residents were on here with plastic bags collecting all the rubbish and cleaning up,” he said.

“The following morning, Kirklees Council were here to finish the work and take all the bags of rubbish away. They have since been up and cut the grass and the pitch now looks in good condition.”

The club is now set to host its under-8s football tournament this weekend with 18 teams from West Yorkshire and Lancashire taking part. The tournament also aims to raise funds towards replacing the ageing portable building – which houses changing rooms, toilets and a kitchen – with a permanent structure.

Mr Sanderson said: “This tournament is a showpiece event for the club and people have rallied round to make sure it happens. Most people who live in Netherton have either played for the club or have kids and grandkids playing for the club.”

He said the incident raised three issues – how to get travellers to move on, the clean-up after they had left and how to prevent it happening again.

“What we need is some kind of barrier to stop high vehicles such as caravans being towed onto the field,” he said. “That will be our next request to the council.”

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