A TRAVELLER invasion has forced a group of circus performers to cancel shows in Droitwich, costing them three days’ trading.
The ‘large group’ of travellers set up camp off Ombersley Way, forcing Pinders Circus to cancel shows on Monday, yesterday and today.
Wychavon District Council served the travellers with a notice to move last Wednesday but so far they have ignored the warning and a council spokesman confirmed more travellers had since moved onto the site.
Circus director Mike Lea said he first became aware of the travellers when people phoned him asking for tickets and for directions to the venue. Mr Lea was then told by locals there were travellers on that site so he drove to Droitwich from Ludlow to check and discovered about 50 caravans.
He said: “We quickly had to put an emergency plan into operation and the council allowed us to come to Evesham (the next destination for the circus) early but we have lost three days’ business and there are a lot of disappointed people. We couldn’t find another venue in Droitwich in 24 hours.”
Mr Lea said the circus lost a “considerable” amount. He believes it is the first time a show has been cancelled because of travellers and the first time this year Pinders had lost a venue.
He thanked the district council for allowing the performers to set up in Evesham early.
He said: “We have to follow a plan and would have had nowhere to go. If we hadn’t gone to Evesham we would have had to park in a layby.
“I haven’t got anything against travellers – it’s a way of life – but because they’re there, we’re not.”
One of the travellers, who did not want to be named, said they were unaware of the circus and expected the group to have moved on within the next few days.
A member of the council’s legal team appeared at Worcester County Court last Friday seeking a notice to move them on and the travellers have subsequently been asked to appear in court today.
A spokesman added: “We are in constant communication with the police, who are conducting regular drive-by patrols to monitor the travellers’ actions, but we have to follow a set process in order to evict them from the land and this takes time.”
The next show by Pinders Circus is at Corporation Meadow, Evesham, at 6pm on Friday and discount vouchers for the cancelled show at Droitwich can be used there.