Stopping places for Appleby Horse Fair visitors

Gypsy caravan Image copyright PA
Image caption Many travel to the fair in traditional bow top caravans

Preparations are under way across County Durham for Gypsies and travellers heading to next month's Appleby Horse Fair.

The council is setting up nine temporary stop over areas (TSOA) in the Teesdale and South West Durham areas, along traditional routes to the event.

They include facilities such as toilet facilities and refuse collections.

Those attending the event, which runs from 6 to 9 June are urged to use these rather than unauthorised encampments.

'Feelings of unease'

The TSOAs will be open between 25 May and 22 June, although one at Gurney Valley, Bishop Auckland, has already opened and will remain so throughout the summer.

They have been provided as part of a co-ordinated response involving residents, police, the council, local businesses and members of the the Gypsy, Roma, and traveller communities.

Sgt Simon Rogers, from Durham Police, said: "Some residents accept the migration of travellers through Teesdale at this time of the year, but others have concerns about the potential for trespass and there can be feelings of unease from the settled community.

"Our joined-up approach means that, in recent years, we have experienced a relatively small number of incidents."

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