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Byline: Jasbir Authi

A GROUP of travellers have sparked fury by setting up camp outside a disused Birmingham pub.

Three families moved onto private land belonging to the former Crossway Court pub, on College Road, Kingstanding, after allegedly breaking through a padlocked fence.

The site is up for auction next Wednesday but the travellers said they planned to stay another week and blamed Birmingham City Council for not finding them suitable accommodation. One of the travellers, mother-of-five Mary Sheriden, aged 40, said: "We came from a field in Perry Barr so this site is convenient for us.

"It's private land and it doesn't bother me that someone might tell us to leave.

"The police come every day but they have to take us to court to get us off.

"The council won't provide us with anywhere else to go."

Manjit Odedra, aged 40, who owns a Londis convenience store next door, said: "The travellers said the lock was already broken but the gates were shut at all times because it's up for auction.

"They are wrecking the place.

It's private land but who's going to buy it now? "We are hoping they will go." Robert Cooper, aged 62, and his partner Mandy Hillen, 53, from the Wyrley Birch estate, said: "They broke the lock off and got into the disused pub.

"They just moved the caravans in. It's disgusting because they aren't going to get it to auction if the travellers are on it.

"Our housing manager is trying to get them off there."

A Birmingham City spokesman said: "We provide an encampment site at Tameside Drive, Tyburn, where these travellers should be staying.

"If they have trespassed onto private land, West Midlands Police will determine whether they can act under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 or whether the circumstances dictate private action to evict by the landowner.

"We are here to support our citizens and West Midlands Police remove travellers who are squatting illegally."


Up for auction: Travellers' caravans on the site of the Crossways Court pub on College Road, Perry Common.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 14, 2010
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