News just in. Have been sent the following recently. Not really news, just the latest example of folks being horrid to my kind.

Look, there are some criminals amongst us! I bet you have some criminals in your circle [if you know it, or not!]. BUT I’m fed up to the back teeth of a WHOLE COMMUNITY BEING CRIMINALISED. Entirely labelled for following a lifestyle, outside of the norm.

Talk about ethnic minorities, race etc, in these terms and you’ll get plenty of obrium.

Hippies / Travellers, well that’s allowed, isn’t it !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Builder’s Merchant’s Attack Police Inaction Over Travellers

Britain’s builders’ merchants have been asked by the Home Office to compile a dossier of police inaction over the menace of travellers – which costs the industry millions of pounds a year in theft, damage, intimidation and loss of business.

The bosses of the country’s largest chains of builders merchants have met with the Home Office, angry that police refuse to intervene, leaving merchants spending millions of pounds on civil actions. One major chain – which doesn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals – told the Home Office that last year it spent £500,000 on evicting gypsies and a further £1 million on putting right the damage they caused.

Another major chain said gypsies from a nearby encampment caused £90,000 worth of damage to a new branch only days before it was due to open. “These people seem to be above the law,” said Jeremy Hawksley, the director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), which represents 3,200 branches throughout the UK with a combined annual turnover of £7.2 billion.

Mr Hawksley, who initiated the Home Office meeting, said: “They get onto land owned by builders merchants and intimate staff, steal stock and fuel and generally leave a terrible mess behind. In the meantime, our members lose trade and run up hefty costs in obtaining court orders, which take from seven to ten days to be issued. Then there are the additional costs of enforcing evictions and court orders, followed by the cost of removing rubbish and human and animal waste from the site. “And yet, despite the damage, trespass, theft and intimidation of customers and staff, the police are not interested because the crimes are taking place on private land,” he said.

Mr Hawksley said there was a lack of will by police to enforce the law, even though existing legislation allowed for eviction. At the Home Office meeting, a BMF member said that in 12 years of his reporting theft and other crimes involving travellers, the police had never taken action.

“Home Office minister John Denham is sympathetic to the complaints and his office has asked us to prepare detailed evidence concerning the lack of police co-operation – which we are in the process of doing. Builders’ merchants are entitled to the same police protection as any other citizen,” said Mr Hawksley.

Mr Hawksley said the Home Office told BMF members that the post bags of ministers and MPs were full of complaints about travellers and that a consultation document issued in the summer was aimed at strengthening the law, adding that there was no reason for travellers to be excused from legal action.

Melanie Wiggins

Marketing and PR Executive

Builders Merchants Federation