Monday, 28 May 2018

Thwaites Brewery evicted by travellers

Illegally excluded from their own premises
I find this quite extraordinary. According to the Lancashire Telegraph, staff at Thwaites had been due to turn up for work in Blackburn on Monday for a normal working day but a group of around 100 travellers in 30 vehicles were occupying the site, having arrived at around 8.00 pm on Saturday. A spokesperson for Thwaites said:
We have effectively been evicted from our head office and brewery site by a group of up to 100 travellers who are now denying us access in an aggressive stand-off. They are putting our family business in real and present danger.
We have been in Blackburn for over 200 years and have never experienced anything like this. They have no business on our site and are carrying out criminal damage as we speak. We are in discussions with police who have supported us during the course of the day and have the powers to evict this group immediately under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which they have not yet exercised. We desperately need their help to remove these people as soon as possible.
Hourly the site is being degraded and in the space of a day has become a disgusting mess. We call on the police to act now to address this situation. We have established a crisis centre to ensure our customers can continue to do business with us, but every hour's delay, or awaiting the courts opening on Tuesday after the bank holiday to get an eviction notice will mean further criminal damage to our site and our business.
We find ourselves powerless victims in this situation and I find it incredible that these travellers are allowed to get away with this sort of behaviour.
Many years ago at the Cambridge Folk Festival, a plain-clothes police officer didn't want me standing where I happened to be loitering: he assaulted me, dragged me backwards by the neck and threatened me with arrest. I was in a public place which happened to be near the police drug squad tent, although I wasn't aware of that fact until the next day when I had a chat with the people on the 'Legalise Cannabis Campaign' stall.

They could act aggressively against a lone, peaceable, and rather drunk music lover when it suited them, but faced with determined opposition, it seems they become powerless. Strange: they weren't so bashful at Orgreave.
  • For the record, I don't take illegal drugs: you don't have to be a cannabis user to support the principle of legalisation. 
  • I'm not anti-traveller, but actions like this reinforce the hostile attitudes that many people do have.
Postscript: the police have at last persuaded the trespassers to move. My friend Sam who works for Thwaites reported her impressions on Facebook as she returned to her desk:
Today I had to walk a gauntlet of broken glass, dirty nappies, burnt out pallets, and trash just to reach my office. Couldn't see my desk, because the contents of my drawers had been rifled through and thrown around, along with my colleagues' possessions, photos and work. Our proud brewers watched as their last week of hard work brewing was destroyed and poured away ... everyone has rolled up their sleeves and cleared up the damage left behind by travellers, filling 3 skips in the process. I seriously can't believe how much damage can be caused in 24 hours.


  1. Obviously a leftie would support gypos over the rights of property owners yeh?

    Or is a different when it's a brewery?

    1. I'm quite astounded by how shallow that comment is - unless it was a misfired attempt at humour.

    2. don't be racist to the nice travelling folk, now.

    3. When mickey-taking misfires.

  2. I see from the BBC news site that the so-called "travellers" have now left the site, after causing over £100k worth of damage.

    I somewhat doubt that the police will be taking any action against these criminals, despite their strong words.

    Thwaites will obviously need to beef-up their security; probably at considerable additional expense to the company.

    As you point out in your post, actions like this reinforce the hostile attitudes that many in society have towards these people. Put another way, they are not exactly helping their own cause.

  3. I agree, although this group seems to be very atypical, and I don't judge the whole by their criminal actions.

    As for Cooking Lager's suggestion that I've betrayed my politics because a brewery was involved: nonsense. Nobody, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political leanings or indeed any other way of subdividing society, is exempt from being responsible for the actions they choose to take. I know CL likes baiting people and I shouldn't rise to it like this, but you know sometimes it gets a bit tiresome.


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