A GROUP of travellers has returned to land near a playground.

At the weekend, two caravans and a campervan appeared near the Olive Lane playground in Darwen.

A local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Thanks to the council's efforts by installing a makeshift soil barrier they have resorted to camping on the roadside next to the skatepark and gardens area.

"(They are) totally blocking access to emergency services and the binmen cannot access to do their job.

"Access to local residents is all but blocked by household items from the caravans being placed on the only footpath past.

"The atmosphere is intimidating and any attempt to reason with them is met with aggression and some very colourful language.

"The incessant noise from their diesel generator and barking from their dogs is also a menace and a nuisance."

Cllr Roy Davies, who represents Darwen East, says it has become a problem in the area for the past few years with travellers moving on there.

He said: "At least three times there have been travellers there.

"This group was there for six weeks before moving onto the former Moorland School site and they were there for a few weeks.

"They turned up again at the weekend.

"The council put some earth to stop them getting on the park itself and it appeared it worked but they are parking on the road next to the shop.

"People won't go near the site and it has become like a dump with all the rubbish. 

"Kids won't use the park.

"I have had lots of residents contacting me about it and they are afraid of going near it or speaking out about it as they will get abuse."

Cllr Jane Oates, who covers the ward said she has visited the site and has been in touch with the council's legal and property teams to try to move them on.

She said: "They keep returning to Olive Lane, it seems a popular venue for them. They came here at Christmas then now coming over Easter.

"I reported it as soon as we heard about it but we have to keep clearing the area up when they leave and that is something we could do without."

Cllr Jim Smith, who is in charge of the environment at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "We would hope that when the travellers are moved on that they clean up the site after themselves and leave it tidy."