TRAVELLERS have been threatening the picturesque Avon Meadows in Pershore by setting up camp on the local nature reserve.

A group of travellers pitched two caravans and two tents on the private meadow during the evening of Wednesday, June 25, much to the horror of local people, by chopping through a chain.

But quick action by Pershore Town Council, Wychavon District Council and the police saw the group, who are thought to have been on the move following the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria, off the site by Friday morning.

Town councillor and vice chairman of Wychavon Val Wood said the reaction made it clear the authority is not a soft touch.

"Thanks to everyone pulling together Wychavon, the town council, police and others immediately visiting the site and in some cases spending the night there, the travellers were persuaded to leave, the last one departing Friday morning.

"I think they soon realised they had chosen the wrong space, no one could get on and with the rainy weather we reminded them it was a flood plain.

"Worcestershire has a long history of providing permanent sites for all travellers together with transitory pitches and it seems unfair such provision can make us appear to be a soft touch. But not in this case."

The local nature reserve and car park is owned by the town council and rented by Wychavon District Council.

Jack Hegarty, managing director, said: "Working with the police we took immediate action in an attempt to clear this important wetland conservation area and car park in Pershore.

"We take a firm but fair approach to the gypsy and traveller community but do all we can to ensure they move quickly when on illegal sites. We are very thankful to the Police and Pershore Town Council.”

The arrival of the travellers comes as Mid Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff voices his own concerns that too many travellers are coming to Worcestershire and "making a mockery" of the county.

The Conservative MP said he is deeply concerned about the number of times travellers are exploiting loopholes in the law and targeting parts of the county.