Campervan owners hit back at claims of bad behaviour during Sidmouth FolkWeek

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 August 2017

Camper vans parked in Bickwell Valley. Ref shs 32 17TI 9127. Picture: Terry Ife

Camper vans parked in Bickwell Valley. Ref shs 32 17TI 9127. Picture: Terry Ife

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Campervan owners who parked on Sidmouth’s streets overnight during FolkWeek have hit back at claims of ‘disgusting behaviour’.

Campervan owners who parked on Sidmouth’s streets overnight during FolkWeek have hit back at claims of ‘disgusting behaviour’.

The Herald reported last week how residents complained about rogue visitors parking in Glen Road and Bickwell Valley.

The first weekend of the annual festival was branded ‘a nightmare’.

Gardens were used as toilets and roadside parking restriction signs were also torn down - so no tickets could be dished out.

One visitor, a nurse from Portsmouth, who parked her campervan on one of the roads, spoke to the Herald and said she and her husband did not stay in the campsites because they liked to attend the late-night events which finished well after the last bus.

She added: “I would be thoroughly shocked if people have been using gardens as toilets. I find it extremely hard to believe and genuinely astonishing – I would never believe people were doing that. Why would you do that when there is a nearby field?

“We’re not making noise or a mess and, in fact, when we first pulled up we immediately cleaned up the litter near the van. We didn’t want anyone thinking it was ours.”

The woman said she and her husband spent up to £1,000 during FolkWeek, which they had attended since 2002.

“If we get all this hassle we will just stop bothering,” she added.

John Whelan, 78, from Bournemouth, has attended FolkWeek since 1966 and also parked on one of the roads. He said: “On the Wednesday before the festival, the organisers closed the campsite to cars because of the mud. They then provided campers with wheelbarrows to bring their stuff up from the car park.

“This is why I don’t stay there – it’s too muddy. And, if you camp on the site you have to buy a pass for the whole week. I only wanted to stay a few days.

“A lot of the people parking on these roads were vendors who were on the seafront. I saw them wheeling their stuff down in the mornings.

“As for using people’s gardens as toilets, I have never seen any indication that this is happening.

“All the campervans have their own toilets. They think we are travellers, but we’re not.”

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