An Angus farming family say they are “prisoners in their own home” after Travellers pitched up on a football field yards from their property.
Members of the group recently evicted from a Brechin public park have moved onto a community football pitch at Balwyllo, beside the A935 leading to Montrose.
Farmer Leask Mackie has said he is now considering completely ploughing up the park to prevent further Traveller occupation after branding the situation “totally intolerable”.
“They have brought the farm to a standstill, we are completely powerless to do anything and the whole thing is costing me money and a whole lot of stress,” said Mr Mackie.
The Travellers arrived at the farm after being ordered to move on from nearby Brechin, and there are currently eight caravans at Balwyllo.
They parked up the field bordering the Mackie family home, beside the football pitch which was the one-time home of Balwyllo Rangers FC.
“We’ve farmed here almost 100 years and the football pitch has been here about 50 years. It’s been used for community events, but if this is the sort of thing that is going to happen we’d be as well ploughing it up and using it for the farm,” said Mr Mackie.
A trench was ploughed the length of the field to prevent the group moving further into the five-acre site.
“They are yards away from our back door and since they arrived my wife and I have been virtually locked in our house,” added Mr Mackie.
“We’ve parked trailers and vehicles across entrances to stop any more arriving – it’s like Fort Knox.
” I realise they have to go somewhere, but surely they cannot expect just to come onto land yards away from our back door, and the more we try to move them on the more they seem to be digging in.”
Mr Mackie’s son, Fraser, said: “Things have been escalating with rubbish now all over the place and shouting late into the night.
“We have been employing a private security firm to patrol our house, farm and also the cottages during the night.
“We have 10 occupied cottages with young children, elderly and disabled people too, all of whom are scared to leave their houses unattended.
“Our farm has ground to a halt, and with harvest fast approaching it is crippling our business.
“We have tried using the police, Angus Council and the legal system, but all this has got us is a hearing in two weeks’ time and it seems something is far wrong with the system if that’s what happens when someone is on private land.”
Angus Council said it removed ten tonnes of rubbish from the Brechin park land the group occupied in the lead up to the Angus school holiday period.