A KIND-hearted group of volunteers have been praised after cleaning up land near a sensory farm after travellers stayed there for around a month.

A group of 34 caravans set up on land close to Hope View Sensory Farm in Astley in July which left the owners with the prospect of heavy costs to evict the travellers.

Gates at the site had been broken to allow the vehicles to drive on to the land.  

The not-for-profit Marsland Green Lane farm includes a range of animals and wildlife to provide comfort for people who live with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Former nursing assistant Christine Dickenson, whose dad owns the farmland while she runs the facility, received a letter from Wigan Council which stated she needed to evict the remaining travellers or face a £20,000 fine.

She contacted the local authority to issue an eviction notice to the travellers, who left on Wednesday, and is now expecting a bill in the post.

A group of volunteers leant their support on Friday morning to help Christine in a litter-picking session.

Christine, 52, said: "I would like to say a big thank you to the community for helping us to clean up the land.

"I think there most definitely needs to be a change of law about this issue.

"We did not invite the travellers to stay but we will have to pay for costs to move them."

As well as the frustration in the length of time the caravans were parked up at the site, Christine was left distraught when one of the goats at the farm was badly attacked by a dog during the traveller's stay.

The same animal is believed to have been responsible for killing chickens on a neighbouring farm.

As well as the volunteers, Christine has commended the owners of Boomers and Swingers golf range in Astley for their support.

The Manchester Road facility has had travellers based at its land in recent months.

Astley and Mosley Common councillors have also worked with Hope View to resolve the situation.

Paul Barton, director for environment at the council, said: “As a local authority we are not responsible for the removal of travellers from private land however we will always support a landowner in their attempts to reclaim their property.

"We have offered support to the farm from when the travellers first moved onto the site including guidance on how to take legal action to have them removed.

"But without the necessary actions being taken by them together with the increasing concerns raised by residents we issued a notice that they would be in breach of planning law if they had not removed the travellers within 28 days which reminded them of their responsibility."

A crowdfunding appeal has also be set up to help the farm with costs relating to the matter.

To donate to it click here.

For more information about Hope View Sensory Farm visit hopeviewsensoryfarm.co.uk.