Caravan gutted by fire hours after council orders 'community' to leave
PUBLISHED: 14:53 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:53 05 June 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A caravan parked on a lane in Trowse has been destroyed by fire less than 24 hours after the council ordered owners to leave the area.
On Tuesday, Norfolk County Council served "direction to leave" notices to six caravan owners parked on Whitlingham Lane, south of Norwich.
It comes after residents in the area claimed people had been stealing water from their outside taps and electricity from external charge points.
Hours after the notices were served, Norfolk fire service was called to Whitlingham Lane shortly before 11.30pm on Tuesday to reports of a caravan on fire.
Crews from Carrow and Earlham attended the scene to extinguish the blaze.
A photograph taken this morning shows one of the caravans, which had been parked close to the entrance to Whitlingham Country Park, completely gutted by fire.
The area has been used as an unofficial parking spot for several years by people living in vans and caravans.
But residents claim the number of vehicles permanently parked on the lane has increased significantly in the past 18 months,
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The council gave the caravan owners until 6pm on Thursday, June 6 to vacate the area.
One 50-year-old resident, who lives on Whitlingham Lane, said: "There has always been a community of van people down here and most of them are lovely, but there has never been this many caravans.
"One or two of them are now causing trouble, not just for the local community, but for other van dwellers too."
The man, who did not want to be named, said he had recently caught someone attempting to steal water from his property.
His experience was echoed by three other residents on Whitlingham Lane who said people had tried to take water from their taps late at night.
One woman, who wanted to remain anonymous said, "They were using our neighbour's outside electricity point to charge their phones and outside water taps. It's just weird."
The council notices were served on June 4 and appear to have only been posted on the doors of caravans, rather than campervans.
One campervan owner, who did not want to be named, said: "There seems to be a bit of turbulence, but as far as I am aware that has always been the case. Some people who turn up are a bit more disruptive.
"However, everyone I know who lives here is wanting to keep things as peaceful and as calm as possible."