VIDEO: Police say travellers’ horse fair in Blackhall went ‘extremely well’

A HORSE fair that descended on a village for the Bank Holiday Weekend passed off without any major incidents.

Around 60 caravans and numerous horses and traps attended Blackhall Colliery for the fair which caused concern among the community in the run-up.

The horse and trap owners passing through Blackhall Colliery during the Bank Holiday Monday event.

The horse and trap owners passing through Blackhall Colliery during the Bank Holiday Monday event.

But police say people’s fears about crime were not realised.

Durham Police’s Superintendent for neighbourhoods, Kerrin Smith, said: “From our perspective it’s gone extremely well.

“Community tensions have been massively reduced in that the fear of the unknown beforehand has just not been realised.

“We have had positive comments from the community about the contact they have had with the travellers from going down to the site and chatting with them and treating each other as individuals.”

Supt Smith added they had received a small number of complaints about the speed of horses and traps using the main road.

They are looking into two minor assault allegations.

But Supt Smith said it was not known at this stage if either was connected to the travellers.

The fair culminated with a “trot” of the horses through the village at midday yesterday which drew numerous onlookers.

Police had appealed to the community for tolerance towards the travellers ahead of the fair which was held at the former pit site, near Hackworth Road industrial estate.

County councillor Rob Crute, who represents the Blackhalls Division of Durham County Council, wrote on his internet blog that “the general consensus from a public perspective appears to be quite positive”.

He added the presence of police and neighbourhood wardens in the village has been very effective in reassuring residents.

But he said a number of land lease and ownership issues remain unresolved and will be addressed.

Coun Crute said: “There have been issues raised about the position adopted by certain sections of the county council in the build up to the event, and we will ensure that these are addressed once the horse fair is concluded.

“It is generally acknowledged however that both county councillors, working closely with the parish council, took all reasonable steps to ensure that the demands of the community were met prior to the event taking place.”