AN unauthorised horse fair that outraged residents when it arrived in their community without warning has been managed successfully, according to police.
Travellers started arriving on the old Winterton Hospital site, between Sedgefield and Fishburn in County Durham, last Monday, ahead of the annual event this weekend.
Previously held in Blackhall, Seaham and Horden, the fair has divided communities in the past, with some welcoming the boost to the East Durham economy and others complaining about anti-social behaviour and the mess left behind.
The unexpected arrival of around 100 caravans, horses and carts at Salters Lane angered Fishburn and Sedgefield residents alike.
However, Superintendant Kerrin Smith, of Durham Police, said the fair had passed without incident.
Speaking in Sedgefield this afternoon (Monday, August 25), she said: “It has gone extremely well. We haven’t had a single call out across the whole area of Sedgefield and Fishburn in the last 48 hours. It has actually been quieter than usual.”
Supt Smith said police had helped control traffic during the trot and said the organiser had agreed to clear the site of any rubbish, with portable toilets and rubbish bins provided by Durham County Council also assisting.
Sedgefield resident John Winning said: “I don’t think there have been any issues and it has brought money into the village so I don’t have a problem with it so long as there is no mess left behind.”
Aware of issues surrounding the fair in the past, this year, the council attempted to work with the organisers to find a better location.
Several locations were considered, but all were deemed unsuitable, leading the council and police to announce they would not support the event.
Contingency plans were put in place just in case but the council and police were only aware of the chosen site when the travellers began arriving.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, who visited the encampment, said: “I don’t think it is a suitable site and it is not right that events like these are sprung on residents without warning.
“The council, police and other authorities now need to work with the travellers to find a more suitable location for next year.”
Councillor Christine Luke, of Fishburn Parish Council, added: “I am not aware of any problems, but we should have been warned.”