The fair in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, is the UK’s largest gathering and celebration of the travelling community, attracting thousands of people every year. However, as the crowds disappeared, local residents were left not only picking up the pieces, but clearing a “sea of litter and human excrement” in the area, including a war memorial which had allegedly been left covered in fast-food wrappers.
Shocking images show members of the public trawling through swathes of rubbish as local media reported that 70 bin liners had already been filled following the fair, the Mirror reports.
Another image posted on Twitter showed what appeared to be human faeces laying on a path. Appleby Fair Communities Group tweeted: “Human excrement, litter, vandalism… All down one of our most beautiful spots in Appleby. This needs cleaning ASAP, this is a health hazard!”
Eden District Council and MASCG Appleby Horse Fair – which organises the event – contracted litter picking teams to clean up, who were praised for their efforts.
However, in a Facebook post by the organisers urging people to take their rubbish home with them after visiting, many locals commented to say the area had been left in a “disgusting” state.
One wrote: “What about the human faeces? Presumably, they have to take that home with them too or at least have the courtesy to pick it up as I do after my dogs?”
Another added: “Fair Hill and the surrounding fields are literally covered in rubbish and the hedges will be full of human waste.”
A third person said: “Pretty disgusting that it’s in this state and these guys have to clean up after visitors! It’s just so vile.”
Even before the event had got underway, residents in the area took to Facebook to share images of a war memorial which they claim had been left “desecrated” by visitors arriving ahead of the celebrations.
Residents in Kirby Stephen, the neighbouring town to Appleby, shared their disgust after a First World War memorial was pictured covered with discarded fast-food wrappings and other litter.
An unnamed local businessman said: “Travellers have desecrated the World War One memorial in Kirkby Stephen. Many of us in the town have relatives commemorated on it and it has gone down very badly. Despite raised police patrols, no one has been apprehended.”
Shocking footage posted on TikTok showed the moment police were forced to create a blockade as they faced off a large crowd trying to enter the event, as fears of a huge brawl between rival groups began to spread.
In another post on social media, one local criticised those that come to cause chaos instead of respecting the tradition. He wrote: “Really needs running better Kirkby Stephen isn’t the Magaluf or Ibiza for the travellers that don’t respect tradition.
“That group of the travellers seem to growing in numbers year on year. Hate this time of year but it’s a wonderful tradition for those looking from the outside that don’t have to deal with it.”
Another said: “Needs a much larger police presence! This all needs to stop, it’s horrendous that these things have been happening. It’s ruining it for the town and it’s ruining it for the real traditional travellers who visit and respect the area.”
Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council have been approached for comment.