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Meet the Travellers facing hardship stranded in Derbyshire car park

New light has been shed light on the realities of those living in the Traveller community in Derbyshire.

A new Channel Four documentary, entitled 60 days with the Gypsies, follows Ed Stafford as he spends two months immersed in Traveller life, and experiencing what life on the road is like.

The former army captain headed to Matlock to meet a group of Travellers stranded in the car park at the town’s train station.

But his arrival was met with outrage, and the climax of last nights showed Ed leaving the Derbyshire site, but on his return, he found that someone had defecated on his car’s windscreen and attempted to break into his caravan.

“I can’t pretend I’m not angry,” he said, as he swore into the camera.

Ed had joined the group just days earlier at a critical time. The dozen or so caravans had been on the site for several months.

The council had a legal homelessness duty for the Travellers, but with no permanent place available to move them to, the group had been left with no electricity or running water.

Read more stories about traffic and travel in Derbyshire

Pearl, a member of the Traveller community, opened up about her struggles since being in Matlock.

She, along with her mother, 80-year-old aunt, and husband, gave up “life on the road” in search for a permanent trailer site about six months ago.

She said: “We can’t keep living like this on the side of the road.”

“We’re not asking for much, we’re only asking for an outside or a yard.”

When asked whether she would consider living in a house, Pearl added: “It’s [travelling] our way of life.

“We’ve lived in a trailer all our lives, it’s like asking the local people to come and live in a caravan.

“They won’t go and do that.

“How do they expect us to live where we don’t want to live?”

At which point, Ed questioned why we should ask Travellers to give up their way of life because doesn’t fit into our ideals of how to live.

But finding a plot turned out to be the least of the group’s problems.

Proposed plans for a permanent site were met with hostility from nearby residents.

One local business owner suggested that the Travellers’ presence would have a detrimental impact on his caravan holiday park, stating that people did not want to holiday so close to Travellers.

There are currently around 2,500 Traveller caravans in England, but there’s only room for approximately 700 on authorised sites.

Ed had previously stopped in West Sussex, Manchester and Cornwall with little trouble on his journey to discover the reality of Traveller life in England.

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