Travellers who invaded a village cricket pitch were bowled out after a tense 24-hour stand-off with club members.
Players and officials of Hoghton CC stumped the visitors by manning the barricades through the night until police could deliver an
eviction order to turf them out.
Quick-thinking locals blocked off the entrance with a wagon to prevent a larger
But four families already inside reacted angrily, scattering rubbish on the pitch and then driving a campervan across the square when they eventually left.
“It was a bit tense at times,” admitted club president Rory McDonald.
“But fortunately it was resolved without any real
“They’ve done a bit of damage to the wicket and left a heck of a mess.
“But everyone in the village rallied round and we stood our ground.”
The visitors soon discovered they had met their match after driving three caravans and a campervan on to the boundary of the cricket field eight days ago.
Others intending to join the impromptu camp found their way blocked by a vehicle transporter.
“At the start the ones who got in were camped on the boundary,” added Mr
McDonald. “We asked them politely several times to move, but they wouldn’t.
“But when they realised we had blocked off the entrance things got a bit heated.
“There was a good presence here by locals and police and it was made clear to the travellers they had to be out by noon.”
Local councillor David Dikinson added: “There was no need for the travellers to behave like they did, tipping rubbish out on the pitch and driving vehicles across it.
“The cricket square has been damaged, but because of the dry weather it doesn’t look as bad as it could have been.”
But to add insult to injury, judges from Lancashire’s Best Kept Village showed up just as the travellers were scattering litter across the picturesque cricket ground.
Villagers looked on in horror as the contents of a rubbish bag were emptied on the square, right in front of two women from the competition committee.
But the house-proud folk of Hoghton have been assured the invasion of the campers from hell will not ruin their chances in the annual contest.
“It wouldn’t be fair to inspect Hoghton with the cricket field in this condition,” declared one of the judges, who declined to give her name.
“We’ll come back when it’s been tidied up.”