TRAVELLERS have set up camp on private land in the Holme Valley.

About 13 caravans, scrap wagons, pickup trucks and other vehicles have moved on to fields off New Mill Road, Honley.

It is thought the travellers entered the site after they reconnoitred the field the day before.

A gate had been left open so members of athletics club Holmfirth Harriers could use the field as a car park.

The land is opposite the Harriers’ Neiley Playing Fields, which houses their club house and sports field.

The travellers were still on the land, owned by Norwood Instruments, yesterday.

The move follows similar problems in Mirfield, where more than 30 travellers set up camp in Knowl Park.

Meanwhile it is thought homes in Honley and Brockholes have been targeted by leaflets from travellers offering gardening and tree pruning services.

It is believed Norwood Instruments, who make scientific machinery and instruments, have applied for a court order to remove the travellers from their land.

The hearing is expected to take place at Dewsbury County Court and may be heard later today.

One neighbour said: “They said they’d be gone by yesterday, but they’re still here today. They’re trespassing and making a mess.

“We’re not very happy to have them. There’s rubbish piling up.”

Holme Valley North councillor Terry Lyons said: “The site is without water or toilet facilities and there is an immediate health issue, along with fears of the site being left with refuse when the travellers eventually leave.

“There are also reports of stones missing from the wall immediately surrounding the site.

“This unannounced visit by the travellers has caused concern and disruption to residents and, without doubt, considerable financial cost to the company.”

Clr Lyons added: “It’s not a happy situation. If they’re using sites that are provided then fair enough, but if they use land illegally we need to clamp down on them.”

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said that because the land was privately owned they could only have an advisory role.

Eviction notices have been served on residents at what is believed to be the biggest unauthorised travellers’ site in the UK.

Basildon Council in Essex has given travellers occupying 51 unauthorised pitches at Dale Farm 28 days to vacate the land.

Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: “It is very disappointing that we are in this situation, as for years we have attempted to work with the people living on this unauthorised site to seek a peaceful resolution.”

Eviction notices were served yesterday after the council last week agreed a £1.2 million contribution towards the cost of policing the clearance. The Government had already agreed to contribute £1.2 million.