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‘Intimidating’ group of travellers leads Nottinghamshire tennis club to switch venues for club day

today5 July 2022

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Travellers caused disruption in Nottinghamshire town and village, with a tennis club cancelling its club day tournament as a result. That led to angry words from Newark MP Robert Jenrick, who expressed his concern on social media.

One group set up on the grounds of the former Lilley and Stone school and another at The Newark Academy in the nearby village of Balderton.

Mr Jenrick wrote: “I was appalled and dismayed to hear that travellers broke into the Lilly and Stone site on the weekend. I was in constant contact with the chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, who promised his personal attention.

“Fortunately, they have gone now, but I will continue to seek assurances from the police that they will take action against them and will remain in contact with the trustees of the site and Newark Tennis.”

Travellers pulled on to the Lilley and Stone site on Saturday, 25 June, and remained there for over a week before leaving overnight on Monday, July 4. Due to their presence, Newark Tennis Club had to cancel its club day tournament at the site as the group were too close to the tennis courts.

Sara Jackson, club captain and committee member of Newark Tennis Club, said: “About a week ago some turned up to start with, I think they they cut the chain on the main gate in order to gain entry. To start with there was only a few there so play carried on as normal.”

Read more: Large group of travellers pitch up at city woodland

However, a few days later more travellers arrived at the site. Sara said: “That’s when we first started to see a few issues, especially n the evenings, it was a bit intimidating for members to walk past the site to get to our club which is at the bottom.”

On Friday, June 30, there was a break in at the clubhouse and Sara and other committee members had to go and secure it. She said: “We were already a bit undecided if we were going ahead with our club day.”

Following the incident the club day was cancelled, and the tennis club’s home matches with Sutton-In-Ashfield and The Park were moved to the public tennis courts in Newark, as they didn’t want “clubs from another area of the county to go through that experience” of feeling intimidated.

However, thanks to Collingham Tennis Club the tournament was able to go ahead in the nearby village. Sara added: “We are really appreciative of Collingham Tennis Club for letting us go ahead with the day at their site.”

The day has been described as “fantastic” and saw the club raise much needed funds of £500 through a bake sale and BBQ for its running and repairs. Newark Police are investigating two offences of burglary at the site, but have warned that just because the travellers were there does not mean they committed those burglaries.

A separate group of travellers with several caravans set up at The Newark Academy on Friday, June 24. The group has since left the site, and during their time on the site the school continued to operate as usual.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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