Councillor claims travellers '˜threatened to kill him and rape his disabled daughter'
Coun Edward Houlton told the Evening Post of his fury following the dramatic and terrifying confrontation yesterday after a group of travellers moved onto a children’s play area on Winton Road.
Coun Houlton was visiting the area to speak to a concerned resident on Wednesday morning when he found his way blocked by a van, ending up with five people surrounding his vehicle making threats.
The stand-off, which involved insults being traded between the travellers and Coun Houlton, represents an alarming escalation in the dispute between the group and the authorities.
Angry councillors are now demanding strong action from the police to remove the group, who moved onto Winton Road after being told to leave land off nearby Hesketh Meadow Lane by Wednesday evening or face eviction.
Coun Houlton said: “It’s absolutely appalling that it has come to this. The community is outraged and so am I.
“It should not be left to a local councillor to take this kind of abuse and as the father of a special needs child this is not the kind of thing I need.
“It’s just devastating. My daughter is terrified and I am incredibly angry and concerned that these people have not been moved on by the police. I expect them to do their job.”
The incident happened at around 11am on Thursday and Coun Houlton says he initially got out of the car to confront the man who had blocked his path and protect his daughter but then got back into his vehicle and phoned the police.
He claims the travellers made threats to both him and his daughter while they were waiting for officers to attend the incident.
Fellow Conservative ward representative Coun James Grundy has now written to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) expressing his alarm at events and demanding the full force of the law is used.
Coun Grundy said: “This has now reached a very serious level and that is incredibly regrettable.
“We are very unhappy about this incident and we want the police to use the full range of powers open to them. This, I believe, warrants immediate action.
“It is hard to see how the situation could become any more serious.”
Wigan Council said new eviction notices were being served on the group yesterday and they would have until 7pm on Friday to leave the Winton Road site.
A GMP spokesman said: “On Thursday 2 June 2016 police were made aware that members of the traveller community had moved onto an area of parkland on Winton Road in Lowton, Wigan.
“Wigan Council issued the people on the site with a notice to leave by 7pm on Sunday 5 June 2016.
“No criminal complaints have been made.”