A sporting charity is bracing itself for more disruption and costs after travellers pitched up in its car park for the second time in 12 months.

Huddersfield YMCA, which runs senior and junior rugby union and football teams, spent almost £3,000 moving the travellers and cleaning up after them last year.

On Monday travellers left the Celandine Avenue playing fields in Salendine Nook and moved a few hundred yards up New Hey Road to the YMCA Sports & Social Club.

The travellers left the football pitch damaged and the fields strewn in rubbish and rotting waste.

YMCA spokesman David Smith, who asked for his real name not to be published for fear of reprisals, said the organisation had taken all the precautions it could to keep the travellers out.

The travellers were on fields next to Salendine Nook High School three weeks ago – and Mr Smith spent two days in a van blocking the entrance around the time they were due to be evicted. A vehicle has also been parked across the entrance overnight.

But at 1pm on Monday the travellers drove straight in, just a year since they last pitched up.

“Last year was a nightmare,” said Mr Smith. “I am just exasperated. We are not unreasonable people and we are quite willing to help but they abused our trust.

“Last year we allowed them to use our toilets and shower facilities but they defecated all over the floor, opened all the fire exits and kids and young girls were running round when men were getting changed. They caused absolute mayhem.”

Mr Smith said the travellers would not be allowed in this time and added: “We are not unreasonable and we don’t want conflict.

“If they said to us they wanted to stay for four days and asked for a skip to put all their rubbish in and cleaned up before they left that would be fine but they have let us down.”

 

Mr Smith said the YMCA spent £2,000 on legal fees to evict the travellers last year and clean-up costs pushed the bill close to £3,000.

The charity has instructed solicitors and will seek an eviction order but it could be 10-14 days to move them on.

“We are a charity run by volunteers and people have given bequests for us to spend on sports and young people,” he said. “It is sad that this money has to go on legal fees and clean-up costs.”

The YMCA is at the heart of the community. There is a seven-days-a-week gym, HD3 Fitness Centre, based there and the charity allows parents from Moorlands Primary School, Mount, to park up as part of a ‘park and stride’ walk-to-school scheme.

Last August when the travellers arrived it was still the school holidays and the football and rugby season hadn’t started.

This weekend there are a series of events at the site including two rugby matches and a football match on Saturday and there will be 300 youngsters playing sport on Sunday.

The Laund Hill site boasts one of the finest rugby pitches in Yorkshire and will host a Yorkshire Carnegie fixture against Ulster in December.

“We are terrified the travellers will get onto the pitch,” said Mr Smith. “If they do to our pitch what they did up the road it will cost us at least £20,000 and that’s no exaggeration.”

Meanwhile, travellers have left the car park of the former Almondbury BMW dealership site in Wakefield Road, Huddersfield, near DW Fitness.

But caravans have now appeared on the site of Kirklees College’s engineering department in St Andrew’s Road.

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