Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Gypsy King? No it's a Prince! Andrew drives through traveller site

Gypsy King? No it’s only a Prince! Moment Andrew drove through traveller site set up outside the gates of Windsor Castle

  • Duke of York was spotted driving while wearing headphones and seemingly slipped past unnoticed 
  • Officers said damage was ‘only a few padlocks broken’ after travellers moved into park in Dedworth Manor
  • Travellers parked up to 30 caravans and motorhomes just a stones throw away from Windsor Castle yesterday
  • Police and officials launched a concerted attempt to shift the Queen’s uninvited neighbours from grounds
  •  But the group smashed open a padlocked gate and moved into nearby Dedworth Manor shortly after

Prince Andrew was spotted driving past the travellers who set up camp on the ‘Queen’s front garden’ and then broke into a park less than a mile from the Windsor racecourse when they were ordered to move. 

The Duke of York, 61, was spotted driving while wearing headphones and sunglasses and seemingly slipped past without anyone noticing him.  

His incognito trip came just hours after officers said the damage amounted to ‘only a few padlocks broken’ after the group set up their camp at Seymour Park, opposite the Royal Windsor Racecourse, around a mile-and-a-half down the road. 

The travellers had parked up to 30 caravans and motorhomes just a stones throw away from the Queen’s favourite castle yesterday – before police and officials launched a concerted attempt to shift the uninvited neighbours.

But shortly after Thames Valley Police cleared the area, the group smashed open a padlocked gate and moved into Dedworth Manor.

The Duke of York, 61, was spotted driving while wearing headphones and sunglasses and seemingly slipped past without anyone noticing him

His incognito trip came just hours after officers said the damage amounted to ‘only a few padlocks broken’ after the group set up their camp at Seymour Park, opposite the Royal Windsor Racecourse, around a mile-and-a-half down the road

Today, four officers were seen going from caravan to caravan offering Covid 19 test kits and informing travellers where the nearest hospital is. 

They made no attempt to move the group, with one officer saying they are only there to ‘carry out welfare checks’.

The travellers’ dispersal from the iconic castle grounds comes as another traveller group who took over an affluent west London park voluntarily left hours before an eviction notice could be served forcing them to leave. 

The 12 caravans and cars that had first pitched up on Kew Green on Thursday – angering nearby neighbours living in £2million homes – finally left last night.

Travellers who were ordered off the ‘Queen’s front garden’ have broken into a park less than two miles from Windsor racecourse (pictured) – as police handed the group Covid tests and ‘welfare checks’ but didn’t try to move them 

Officers (some pictured at the new site) said the damage amounted to ‘only a few padlocks broken’ today after the group were told to clear out of the Long Walk at Windsor Castle on Tuesday


YESTERDAY vs TODAY: Travellers have decamped from the Long Walk at Windsor Castle overnight after dozens of police and royal officials convinced them to leave the ‘Queen’s front garden’

A group of travellers – including children – were seen posing for photographers at the Windsor camp yesterday

 

The travellers in Windsor are understood to have gained entry to the Dedworth Manor park by smashing open a padlocked gate yesterday.

When asked about the damage to council property one of the officers at the scene – which is 0.6 miles from Royal Windsor racecourse – today said: ‘It’s only a few padlocks broken’.

Two officers and two community support officers took part in the checks on the travellers.  

One of the officers said: ‘We are here to carry out welfare checks as we would do with any homeless person.

‘We have been checking on their welfare, handing out Covid test kits and giving advice such as location of the nearest hospital’

‘Code of conduct’ notices issued to travellers by police 

Unauthorised Encampments Code of Conduct

To ensure members of the settled and travelling communities or others who may live a nomadic lifestyle can live together in a peaceful and unprejudiced way, we expect you to comply with this Code of Conduct. We expect you to treat the land you have occupied with respect and that you respect the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area. Behaviour that may result in your eviction from this site includes the following:

  • Camping upon any land designated as a public amenity, such as parks, recreation areas, school fields and similar locations. (Note this is not an exhaustive list)
  • Interfering with the rights and freedoms of other members of the public, including interrupting the operation of legitimate businesses.
  • Forcing entry to land, by causing damage to any fixtures, fitting or landscaping, including planted areas. This includes digging away of earthwork defences, which have been placed at landowner’s expense, to prevent trespass. 
  • Causing any other damage to the land itself, or property on it. Particular care should be taken not to cause damage to those features provided as public amenities. 
  • Driving vehicles along any footpath, or highway not specifically designed for road vehicles. This practice is not only unlawful but is highly dangerous.
  • Parking vehicles or caravans on any road, footpath or other highway that causes an obstruction to other people wanting to pass by. This includes parking immediately next to footpaths. 
  • Dumping or tipping rubbish, waste materials or trade waste such as tree cuttings rubble, etc. It is your responsibility to keep the site clean and tidy. 
  • Use of the area as a toilet. You must not deposit or leave human waste openly in public areas. 
  • Abuse, intimidation or harassment of any person who is lawfully using the area. Excessive noise or other forms of anti-social behaviour. 
  • Animals that are not kept under control or that attack persons lawfully on the land, or nearby. 
  • Interference with electrical, water or gas supplies. Any person/s found abstracting electricity, or wasting quantities of water may be subject of criminal proceedings.

These codes are the same standards of behaviour that are expected of the settled community. Thames Valley Police are committed to ensuring that all policing issues that affect you, are balanced; however behaviour that is deemed unacceptable within society will not be tolerated. 

Windsor Castle’s grounds cover 13,000 acres, featuring fortifications, a palace and small town. 

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council has not yet sought a court order to force the travellers to move on again.

A spokesman added: ‘The encampment was set up last night at about 8pm after they were moved on from the Long Walk.

‘The council is aware and in line with policy and statutory requirements on us welfare visits are being undertaken before any decisions are made on how to proceed.

‘The situation will continue to be actively monitored to ensure that the impact on local residents and the environment is minimised.’

The Dedworth Manor area is overlooked by flats. Some residents were less than thrilled to see the caravans spread out across the open space. 

After arriving last night, some of the travellers attempted to get a drink at the New Windsor Social Club on the edge of the park, but were turned away as it was a members only.

One drinker said: ‘They force their way in and yet are treated like royalty.

‘Can you imagine what would happen if I drove down the long walk and had a picnic? 

‘It really is one rule for them and another for others’

One traveller said they had pitched up at The Long Walk so that the children could have ‘somewhere nice’ to eat their lunch before moving on to their latest camp.

When asked how long they intended to stay on their new pitch and where they had travelled from, a woman member of the traveller group told MailOnline: ‘It’s none of your f****** business. 

‘Leave now of I’ll fetch my husband and he’ll deal with you’

Residents who saw the camp being set up expressed concern that Dedworth Manor looking like a rubbish dump when they do eventually leave.

Steve Christie, 64, said ‘We’ve all heard about rubbish being left behind in these situation. It’s the first time they’ve been on here and the sooner they go the better.’

Mother-of-two Sally Langmead said: ‘They have not been any trouble so far, but it just puts the whole estate on edge.

‘It’s sad to say but many of the travellers come with a bad reputation. I hope there is no trouble.’ 

Despite the warm weather no locals were in the park. One elderly woman walked her dog around a car park rather than venture into the area. 

Work equipment belonging to the travellers – including a wood chipper – could be seen in the park today.

Children from the group played on swings while one teen arrived back at the site in a Uber that dropped him off in the car park of the New Windsor Community Social Club. 

Meanwhile, the Long Walk was nearly deserted today.

Two cars were seen parked at the entrance to the castle grounds, with one marked as a ‘warden’ – in an apparent attempt to put off anyone who might want to return.

In Windsor yesterday, vans and motorhomes were parked near signs which state that vehicles are ‘prohibited’, while pictures showed the group blocking off the Long Walk almost entirely.

The 2.6mile track – a popular tourist attraction – connects Windsor Castle with Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park. 

It is still used by the royal carriages every year as part of the route from Windsor Castle to the Ascot Races.

Prince Andrew was seen driving through the camp in his Range Rover yesterday – seemingly unperturbed by his new neighbours. The Duke of York lives with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, 61, in Royal Lodge on Windsor’s grounds. 

At the site in Windsor where the travellers were yesterday, Chris Miell – a painter who has worked in the area for 30 years – said: ‘It is disgusting, they just do as they like without thinking of anyone else.

Officials are seen talking to travellers in a caravan in Dedworth. The group moved over there after being removed from the Long Walk at Windsor

Hardly anyone could be seen at the Long Walk today. Locals stepped out in the warm weather for a stroll

‘It is really provocative to park in front of Windsor Castle, they were just in front of the gates where the Queen leaves to go to the races. They always leave such a mess.’

The 76-year-old added: ‘They parked a bit further down the Long Walk a few years ago, but thankfully it is easier for the authorities to move them off from crown land, they don’t have to wait seven days like the council.

‘The group has now moved to Windsor Racecourse, I think they have cut the padlocks and gone around all the humps and stakes the council has put out to try and stop them parking there.

‘They are on a sports pitch at the moment so the children can’t play their football matches they have been trying to catch up on. I just hope they are not left there for too long.

‘But, to park on the Long Walk, it is very selfish and they think they are above the law, it is disgusting and disrespectful.’ 

Much of the 2,000 hectare royal estate is open to the public free of charge from dusk until dawn.

While the Queen has spent much of her time at Windsor Castle during the pandemic – including after the death of husband Prince Philip in April – she is believed have left for Balmoral earlier this month to privately mourn the consort’s death.

Police issued Code of Conduct notices (pictured) to those remaining in Hanover Way overnight

But she has since returned to the residence. The royal standard – the flag which when flown indicates that the Queen is present – was yesterday seen flying above the Berkshire castle.

In the travellers’ new camp police were last night handing out Code of Conduct notices, local Councillor Jon Davey said.

The councillor for Clewer and Dedworth West wrote on Facebook: ‘Police are at Hanover Way / Dedworth Manor issuing Code of Conduct notices to the travellers. Police request residents just let the authorities follow procedure. Council are aware. Thank you.’

He shared one of the notices, along with a picture of police officers at the scene.

The notice read: ‘To ensure members of the settled and travelling communities or others who may live a nomadic lifestyle can live together in a peaceful and unprejudiced way, we expect you to comply with this Code of Conduct.

‘We expect you to treat the land you have occupied with respect and that you respect the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area.’

Includes a list of behaviour that may result in eviction, such as ‘camping upon any land designated as a public amenity’, ‘interfering with the rights and freedoms of other members of the public’ or ‘driving vehicles along any footpath’.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘At around 6pm last night Thames Valley Police were called about an unauthorised encampment on the Long Walk in Windsor. 

‘Officers engaged with the landowner and also those in the encampment and those who had gathered dispersed.’

Commenting on the group now in Dedworth Manor, the spokesman added: ‘As this is a civil matter at this stage we are engaging with the landowner and those gathered on the unauthorised encampment.’ 

A spokesman for Windsor and Maidenhead Council said: ‘The encampment was set up last night at about 8pm after they were moved on from the Long Walk.

‘The council is aware and in line with policy and statutory requirements on us welfare visits are being undertaken before any decisions are made on how to proceed.

‘The situation will continue to be actively monitored to ensure that the impact on local residents and the environment is minimised.’

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