Funfair cancelled after travellers turn historic Putney Heath into rubbish tip
Callous travellers have dumped tonnes of rubbish on Putney Heath causing a fun fair to be cancelled and sparking a massive and costly clean-up operation.
Nineteen caravans arrived at the heath on Thursday and only departed after “barricading” themselves into their camp site all weekend while they dumped huge piles of mess in nearby woodlands.
On Friday horrified dogwalkers, ramblers and residents discovered timber, rubble, bags of rubbish and general waste strewn across the greenspace.
Wandsworth Council was forced to embark on a vast and expensive cleaning process, costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.
However, Putney Heath is managed by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators (WPCC), funded by a residents’ levy, meaning they were responsible for the mammoth clean-up.
Members of the WPCC brought in a crane to help with the clear-up ,which was still taking place when the newspaper went to press.
It is understood the travellers went from building site to building site in the days before the dumping, offering to take rubbish away for a discounted rate.
Then, having kept any valuable materials, the unwanted rubbish was scattered across the heath without a thought for damage to the common and wildlife or the danger posed to children.
Bill Rowland, from the WPCC, said: “It is very distressing to see the common in this condition. They had been going to building yards, taking all their waste and then tipping them all over the woodlands.
“They really are a law unto themselves and something has to be done.
“It is probably going to take a week to clear up. We have a contingency fund to pay for it, but we had hoped to use that for something more appropriate.”
Mr Rowland went on to warn builders not to hand over their waste at cheap rates.
The annual Roses fun fair was due in town last weekend, but had to be cancelled because organisers refused to work while travellers were on the site.
A furious Perron Coupland, who runs Roses Fun Fair, fumed: “Those people basically ruined the whole weekend. A lot of income has been lost for everybody. I’ve personally never seen anything like this.”
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