VILLAGERS have expressed their outrage after a travellers’ camp in Llay was set up on football pitches used by children.
About 20 caravans moved onto land at Alyn Waters Country Park unannounced on Sunday night.
The pitches are used by Llay United Youth Football Club, which has about 150 boys and girls playing and training every week.
Club secretary David Adams said parents were furious with the surprise arrivals. Now he is desperately searching for alternative locations so the youngsters can continue to play.
“It is disgusting. We have only just marked out the pitches. It was obvious to anyone football is held there,” said Mr Adams.
“We work hard to give the players good facilities. They are stopping children playing.
"We won’t use it while the camp is there. We want the council to move them off as quickly as possible.”
A spokesman for the travellers said they had come for a wedding and said the camp was not “causing trouble”.
Just this weekend the site had been used to host a pre-season fixture with a team from the Wigan area. Another friendly is scheduled for this weekend.
Lawrence Isted, head of community wellbeing and development at Wrexham Council, said: “This is an unauthorised encroachment on to our land but it is not illegal for somebody to do this.
“However, given the scale of the encroachment we are hoping to take early legal action to remedy the issue.”
Llay’s two ward councillors on Wrexham Council also voiced concerns yesterday.
Cllr Malcolm Taylor said: “I am livid about this. What gives these people the right to invade someone else’s property?
“I fear it could take a long time for them to be shifted from there.
"One of my main concerns is for our junior football teams who play there and who won’t be able to use their pitch.
“People I have spoken to are very unhappy.”
Cllr Terry Boland said: “I have been contacted by members of the public about the travellers’ camp. They are upset about it. Residents of Llay and people from outside the village are affected.
“Officers of Wrexham Council are dealing with it. We have to make sure everything is done legally, there is a process to go through.”
Rob Walsh, secretary of the Friends of Alyn Waters, said: “I’m concerned for the people who use the park and the negative effect of the camp on the activities held there. I want to see the matter resolved as soon as possible."
North Wales Police spokesman Michael McGivern said: “We received a number of calls about the camp on Sunday and we are aware of it. The council has been informed.”
A spokesman for the travellers said: “We are not causing trouble. If people ask us to move on to another section away from the football we would do that. We have come
here for a wedding.”
But visitors to Alyn Waters were also calling on the council to act fast.
Malcolm Vernon, of Llay, said: “The council should get them off there quickly.”
Ray Garston, also of Llay, said: “This is a very popular place for families with children. I hope the council take action to remove the camp as soon as possible.”
Belinda McManus, of Penymynydd in Flintshire, said: “I’m worried about my dog. I like to come here for walks. I’ll make sure I keep clear of the camp.”