Clear up begins after travellers leave Shaw Cross rugby pitches

CLEAN UP Travellers had taken over playing fields used by Shaw Cross Sharks.
CLEAN UP Travellers had taken over playing fields used by Shaw Cross Sharks.

Travellers who made their home on rugby pitches in Shaw Cross have moved on after a plea from club reps.

Caravans pitched up on the land used by Shaw Cross Sharks in Leeds Road overnight on Monday, forcing the club to cancel training crucial sessions.

The club’s open age team is currently riding high in the National Conference League, and Mr Richardson said the prospect of not being able to practice – and even cancelling fixtures – had been a huge concern.

Benny Richardson, secretary of the open-age club, said: “I got a call from one of the players at 6am on Tuesday to say they’d moved on and my heart just sank. Barriers that are used to allow ambulances onto the pitch in emergencies had been forced.

“I spoke directly to the travellers and pleaded with them to at least move to the side of the pitch and they didn’t.”

“As a club we’re devastated that people can be so selfish. They have taken camp on the playing surfaces, which is particularly upsetting, especially as we have just spent £3,000 upgrading the surfaces, with better quality grass and drainage.”

The travellers had been spread across three pitches and using a junior pitch as a thoroughfare to Leeds Road.

Kirklees Council, which owns the land, had applied to Huddersfield County Court for a possession order so they can evict the travellers.

A hearing is scheduled to take place today (Friday).

Any eviction would have been unlikely to take place until the beginning of next week, but by this morning the travellers had abandoned the site.

The council has had teams tidying the pitches, including the Community Payback team run by West Yorkshire Probation Service.

Tomorrow’s junior games have been postponed.

An open-age match on August 3 against Castleford Panthers and a junior gala on August 10 were also at risk of being cancelled.