Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Traveller movement deplore “Scum of the earth” headline

THE TRAVELLER movement has reacted with anger at the front page headline in the Thurrock Enquirer that asked “Why do they act like Scum of the Earth?”

The front page splash centred on the amount of litter allegedly left by a group of gypsy-travellers who had illegally encamped in Claudian Way, Chadwell St Mary.

The piece was written as a piece of editorial comment by the forthright editor, Neil Speight and comes in the middle of a summer which has seen a huge increase in traveller movement in Essex, especially Harlow and Thurrock.

A spokesperson for the Traveller Movement, Mike Doherty said:

“Whilst we do not condone Traveller groups who leave large amounts of mess, we would stress that unauthorised encampments are often caused by Traveller families under huge pressure to move on and move on and move on every two or three days. It sometimes seems to us that the policy of some councils is to eventually drive them out of the borough or into the sea. We would suggest a more tolerated approach to encampments with rubbish disposal and portaloos provided. Councils that do this actually save tax-payers money and Councillors should take note.”

“It’s important for everyone to remember that the council clean-up bill for such incidents are always shared by local Gypsies and Travellers living on authorised and legal sites, who pay rates and taxes in the same way as an anyone else.”

“We deplore the recent hate-mongering headlines (in the Thurrock Enquirer) calling Travellers ‘scum’ and suggesting that the UK’s 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers are all responsible for one pile of rubbish left behind after a single unauthorised encampment. That kind of language does not sit well in a country that considers itself civilised.”

“Gypsies and Travellers are individuals, just like everyone else, not some kind of collective blob that all think the same or do the same. There are Gypsy and Traveller police officers, solicitors, council workers, Olympic medallists, shop assistants, builders, pavers, tax-payers, schoolchildren and grand parents. To suggest that all Travellers are collectively responsible for each other’s mess is racist, dehumanising and absurd.”


  1. I believe Neil was repeating what a local resident had said in the understandably heat of the moment.
    But its true that the local population are thoroughly fed up with the intimidation and rubbish caused by the travellers.

    Its also true that they are above the law because you never hear of them being charged with fly-tipping or damage to property after breaking through council fences etc.
    If Joe Public did that we would be whisked down to the local Police station very swiftly!

  2. Read what the strapline, headline and comment piece sctually say. And the Traveller movement were invited to comment but did not respond. I shall be meeting some of the Travellers from the site tomorrow and their response will be interesting. They have already acknowledged to me that there were “rogue Travellers” at Chadwell whose behaviour was unacceptable. They have also offered to pay for the clean up. I make no apologies for my comment or headline. The Traveller prpblem and everyone’s concern and opinion must be addressed. I threw a boulder into murky water, let’s see where theripples take us. Neil Speight.

  3. They choose this life, Mick Doherty your words mean little, I am not convinced we should supply portaloos or bins, you should be proud of being what you are and keep your own houses in order, there is no doubt in my mind any monies spent to remove you from ‘illegal’ camp sites should be repaid in full by those who commit to ignoring the laws of the land AND IF YOUR GROUP WANT RESPECT YOU HAVE TO SHOW AND GIVE IT, so for me the title was quite easy to understand given the overall attitude and behaviour of the majority of the gypsy community.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles