A man from Scotland decided to play travellers at their own game when he returned from a holiday to find them trespassing on his land.
The travellers demanded a ransom of £8,000 to move, knowing it would cost thousands to fight the battle in court. Rather than pay, however, Jonathan Williams-Ellis used a mechanical digger to block them in.
A convoy of multiple caravans were occupying the land near the Puffin Café on the westbound carriageway of the A55 at Penmaenmawr in Conwy when the disgruntled owner built an earth barrier and locked the gate.
When two more caravans rocked up at 4am in the car park of the café on Sunday, Mr Williams-Ellis went one step further by using the digger itself, stopping the convoy comprised seven caravans, a pick-up truck, 4×4, Land Rover and two cars from going anywhere.
Speaking to the Daily Post, Mr Williams Ellis said: “One of them said to me this morning ‘We will leave if you give us £8,000′. They know the law and I have done this because the alternative is it costs five or six grand to go through the courts.
“I told them they could leave the site but only once they fixed their caravans to their transit vans. I asked them to leave and they said they could be here for months. I said ‘I think you will find it a little more difficult tomorrow’.”
North Wales Police were called in to mediate the ensuing stand-off. Fewer than 48 hours later the travellers admitted defeat and left at 11:30am on Monday, with at least eight officers watching on.
Explaining his actions, he said: “I did it because it was my only option. I had the choice of losing about £500 this morning or doing nothing and losing thousands.”
“I decided to play them at their own game,” he added.
UK law stipulates that simply being on another person’s non-residential property is legal. Only if a crime is committed does it become illegal, meaning owners usually have to jump through hoops to have them evicted.