Travelers who have brought chaos to a market town in England’s smallest county have finally begun exiting the grounds after four days of “Mad Max-style” chaos.
Around 1,500 gypsies came together last weekend at the Rutland Showground in Oakham for a Christian mass event at Pentecost.
Residents and local businesses filed hundreds of complaints with the police in the days that followed as the travelers wreaked “absolute bloodbath” in the picturesque town.
There were reports of drag racing, shoplifting and antisocial behavior that forced some stores to close their doors, and schools warned children not to go alone.
Leicestershire Police confirmed two arrests were made in connection with the Festival of Light and Life, which ended Thursday.
That morning (Friday), many caravans were still standing on the exhibition grounds while the cars finally left the site.
Police officers blocked vehicles from re-entering as drivers gradually got out.
Carl Ford, 55, said, “The vast majority of them have behaved well, but a small number of them have caused utter chaos.
“We will be happy to see the back of this event, which was not well organized from the start.
“Last weekend was the worst, but the police started cracking down on things in the days that followed.
“I saw someone say it was like something from Mad Max and that wasn’t an exaggeration for this opening weekend.
“Most people are locked in their own four walls again until this is all over.
“They also don’t seem to be showing any urgent signs that they are leaving, although some of them left today. I just hope they take their mess with them.”
Another resident who did not want to be named said at the beginning of the week: “I work on the street and live very close to the exhibition center.
“I heard them hunt in people’s gardens and then run down the main street and hit windows.
“It was chaos and then there is the extra traffic and all of the junk they just leave lying around.
“They just seem to throw away their trash and walk around town.
“It’s a quiet place and we only have one small main drag, but they still found ways to wreak havoc.”
The Rutland Agricultural Society hosted the event on 45 acres of fields for 1,500 adults and children in their own motorhomes and trailers.
Leicestershire Police said they had received more than 100 calls regarding the event, mostly about antisocial behavior and Covid violations.
Superintendent Jonny Starbuck said, “We initially received over a hundred calls to the police in connection with this incident.
“Significant anti-social behavior has been reported and we have made two arrests.
“Since the police operation began, we have seen these calls to the police have dropped to twenty.
“We are aware of grocery non-payment and shoplifting by local businesses and we work with them to ensure that the right action is taken.
We call for sustainable changes that ensure that littering and those responsible are dealt with much more seriously.
Together with our community platform InYourArea and the campaign group Clean Up Britain, we are calling for the fine to be increased to £ 1,000 for anyone caught littering and for local authorities to become mandatory, the law on what is already a criminal offense .
“We received mostly anti-social behavior reports and some Covid compliance reports.
“We understand that anti-social behavior can have a significant impact on the local community and I want to thank them for working with us on this matter and encourage them to keep reporting incidents to us.
“We would like to reiterate that this is a legal event and the majority of visitors are there to enjoy their faith.
“There are few who are determined to engage in this negative behavior. We will deal quickly and energetically with those who commit crimes. “