TRAVELLING COMMUNITIES have been peacefully moved on from Saddleworth after settling at two disused sites.
The group, containing seven caravans, first arrived at Fletchers Mill in Greenfield and then Shaw Pallet Works in Diggle, but were moved on from both sites by police.
PC Lee Cullen explained: “A lot of metal was taken from Fletchers factory, causing a lot of
issues for the security staff.
“But the travelling community was served with a notice by Oldham Council and they moved on.
“They arrived at the former Shaw Pallet Works in Diggle and broke the lock on the gates and moved in there.
“We went down and spoke to them, served them another notice from Oldham Council and they left.”
Meanwhile, PC Cullen said the Saddleworth Policing team is delighted with the success of the ‘Zero Zone’ anti-drugs initiative, which has been running since November.
“The issues around drug use have gone down,” he confirmed. “We haven’t had half as many reports of cocaine use in Uppermill.
“Drug use is really being squeezed out of the area. We are never going to solve all the problems as there will always be those few who are hell bent on using substances.
“But we’ve made it a lot harder for them to do that and I’m optimistic we can keep building on that.”
PC Cullen said the Zero Zone initiative will be in force over the May Bank Holiday weekend, as well as at Whit Friday, Yanks and other upcoming local events.
Whit Friday will also see the use of CCTV along Uppermill High Street, which could become a permanent fixture if it proves a success.
And police will be on red hot alert to stamp down on under-age drinking, particularly in Uppermill park.
PC Cullen said: “We will have PSCOs at every venue and hopefully it will be another peaceful year like last year when there were no arrests.
“If we find young people coming in with alcohol, we will take it off them. We’ll have test sticks for bottles and we will be checking their drinks.
“We do not want to be kill joys but we do need to safeguard these young people so we have to have a zero tolerance approach.”
The police have also been working with Oldham Council’s licensing team to address the issue of taxis waiting illegally along Uppermill High Street at evenings and weekends.
PC Cullen said: “We were out in Uppermill with the licensing team last weekend and eight taxis were stopped, and one even had his badge taken off him on the spot.
“It is an on-going project and I hope the taxi drivers will soon realise it’s not acceptable to park all along the High Street and we will hit their pockets for it.”
The police are also working with the RSPCA at Dovestone to put in an action plan for the summer to cope with the large volume of people going up there.