Padiham farmer appeals for public to 'stay away' after crowds of trespassers 'gatecrash' his 600 acre site and leave a trail of litter and filth

A farmer has pleaded with the public to 'stay away' after his private land was invaded by hordes of people at the weekend.

Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 7:00 am
Angry farmer Mark Hanson with some of the rubbish he collected from his land at the weekend

Mark Hanson made the impassioned plea after over 100 people, many of them drinking alcohol and taking drugs, descended on the 600 acre Pendle Hall Farm in Padiham after temperatures soared.

Frustrated and angry that his request for the sunseekers to leave was met with a torrent of abuse, Mark decided to get the muck spreader out in a bid to clear the property at the end of Grove Lane.

"I asked them to leave politely and to take their rubbish with them but the foul mouthed abuse I received just saw the red mist come down,' said Mark.

"I don't regret my actions because people need to realise this is private property and a working farm and they are putting that at risk."

The farmer was incensed when he saw motorbikes and horses on his land and even people carring a five man dinghy!

Mark said that in the past gates at the farm, which stretches across to the Fence bypass and Barden Lane, Burnley, had been left open and signposts warning the land is private property had been ripped down.

He is now shipping in security to keep his land safe and also erecting telegraph poles with signs to let people know the land is private.

Mark said: "I have contacted the police on a number of occasions but not received any response so I have decided to take action to protect my farm and livelihood."

Farming around 1,000 sheep and 300 cows the farm has designated footpaths through it that are a public right of way.

But the recent hot weather has seen hordes of visitors flock to farm, which has the River Calder running through it, for picnics and it has become a magnet for groups of young people to gather and drink alcohol and take drugs.

Mark said: "They have now decided to stray from the footpath and spend their afternoons on our fields drinking and picnicking and leaving their rubbish and filth behind.

"Why do this when they are so many lovely parks and countryside areas around here to enjoy?"

He added that over the weekend so many people had trampled through one of the fields it had turned to mud which prevents the growing of vital crops that are used to feed the cows during the winter.

Mark said: "We use the field to grow grass to make silage which is fed to the cattle so people walking through it harms the crop.

"Farming is hard enough so if the litter they leave is gathered when we cut the crop we either damage expensive machinery or the cows could die due to the contamination in their food."

Dog walkers who let their pets foul the fields also present a major hazard, Mark pointed out, adding:"They may not think it is an issue but if that gets into a pregnant cow's stomach the calf will abort.

"Many dog walkers also leave their plastic disposal waste bags on the farm which is another major hazard."

Mark runs the farm with his wife Adele whose parents live at neighbouring Higher Whittaker Farm. They are third generation farmers.

On Sunday they mounted a clean up operation and recovered several bags of rubbish including dozens of discarded nitrous oxide canisters more commonly known as 'balloons.'

They also found used and discarded toilet roll ands stacks of empty beer and wine bottles.

Mark added: "It is just barbaric. I feel like following some of these people to their homes and dumping the rubbish they have left on my farm in their gardens.

"What gives them the right to be so selfish?

" I appreciate people want to enjoy our beautiful countryside but they just won’t clean up after themselves.

"They all wonder what our problem is and that’s because they have no idea what damage they are doing by leaving litter."