Complaints made about travellers

Mess found at Selkirk's industrial area.
Mess found at Selkirk's industrial area.

A manager of a local business has hit out at mess, which is thought to include human excrement, left in the town’s industrial park.

The mess had been found at a site in Selkirk currently occupied by travellers.

It comes as a clean-up began yesterday at a site at Hawick’s Mansfield Road, where travellers were also recently camped.

However, there is no evidence to say that the travellers are responsible for that mess.

On Tuesday, a local manager, who did not wish to be named, told The Wee Paper: “I came in to work on Monday morning to find soiled toilet roll and human excrement left in our customers and employees car park.

“There was even more left this morning.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We have received a complaint relating to a travellers encampment in Whinfield Road and are continuing to liaise with Scottish Borders Council and those currently occupying the site to address this matter.”

A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council added: “The council has a process for managing the unauthorised occupation of sites by travelling people across the Scottish Borders and this is being used in this case.”

“This involves an inter-agency approach.”

The mess that was left in Hawick has required a specialist team to be on site to firstly carry out a body spill uplift and thereafter to record any evidence that can assist the police to identify who the individuals are that have left the mess.

It resulted in a public outcry across the town and was discussed at this week’s Teviot and Liddesdale Locality Area Locality Committee meeting where Douglas Scott, Scottish Borders Council’s senior policy advisor, was in attendance.

He told members: “We have someone who makes contact with every unauthorised site that we have, and we talk to the community and find out what their issues are and what their needs are, and we encourage them to move on.

“That process is nationally recognised.

“The travelling community is like any other community, it is a broad community, and in the last six or so years, the vast majority of cases, we have been able to manage them quite effectively.

“With this group, we didn’t receive any complaints at all until very recently, but once we had received the complaint, it would have been investigated.”

The group based in Selkirk was approached for comment but declined.

Travellers have been in Scotland for many centuries and still retain their own cultures and customs.

The Scottish Government recognises the community as an ethnic group and they are protected against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

It is believed that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 people who are members of the travelling community.

Travellers were known historically to have strong traditions of storytelling and music, taking Scots ballads from one area to another.