Louise Bowling contacted us because she felt she was being driven off the land where she kept her horse.

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Travellers are trying to drive us off our land: Horse lover tells of threats after her field is surrounded


To Louise Bowling, it was the fulfilment of a life-long dream.

Having bought some land, surrounded by beautiful countryside, she now had space to rear her beloved horses.

But. just a few months after purchasing the 1.1 acre plot, Mrs Bowling's dream is in tatters.

Earlier this month, the land surrounding her stables was sold to travellers who arrived under cover of darkness, poured 200 tons of concrete over the hillside and brought in their caravans and trucks.

They have since laid siege to Mrs Bowling's plot, threatening to rape her, burn down her home and kill the animals unless she sells them her land at a knockdown price.

Last night, Mrs Bowling, 31, a part-time receptionist, said: 'It's been terrible. When the caravans and trucks rolled on with the concrete, it was the end of our world.

'We saved up to buy the land - my husband went to war to pay for it - and it was going to be our nest egg for the future. It was an idyllic place for me to come and see the horses and enjoy the countryside.

'The travellers want us to sell them our share, but when we said it was not for sale they started threatening us. They said they would burn our house and the stables down and kill the horses.

'One of the men even threatened to rape me, it was disgusting. I've been so upset, I've not been eating or sleeping since they arrived.'

Enlarge   The field owned by Louise Bowling is seen to the left of this picture - it is surrounded by the travellers' caravans

The field owned by Mrs Bowling, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, is surrounded by the travellers' caravans

Mrs Bowling bought the land in Hardhorn, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, from owner Vincent Peake for 17,500, 14 months ago.

It was the middle plot of six lots, totalling eight acres, all designated as being for keeping horses on.

Mrs Bowling and her husband, Martin, 35, a former supplier with the RAF who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, spent a further 8,500 building stables and fertilising and fencing off the plot.

The couple, who have no children, moved their two horses into the stables and for more than a year enjoyed tending the plot and their animals. But, on November 3, Mrs Bowling was told the remaining five plots had been sold to a group of Irish travellers for 85,000.

On the evening of Friday, November 6, around 20 caravans and trucks rolled on to the site and, over 72 hours, tipped 200 tons of hardcore on to the land.

Officers from the local council arrived the day after and tried to issue a 'stop notice' to force the travellers to stop working on the site, but, they ignored it. The local authority are now seeking legal action against the travellers.

Police were also called but said they were powerless to help because no crime had been committed. Fearful her two horses would be harmed, Mrs Bowling, of Blackpool, moved them to other stables nearby.

She said they later offered to sell the travellers the land but were only offered 18,000, including the stables.

One of the travellers, Pat Collins, denied breaking the law and said they had applied for planning permission for their caravans. 'We have put in for planning permission retrospectively and are waiting for it to come back,' he said.

'We have to have homes for our kids. We've saved our life savings for this land, we own it and have a right to be here.'

Mr Peake, a retired electrical engineer, claimed he did not mean to sell the land to travellers. An individual in Yorkshire acted on the travellers' behalf and sold the land to them behind his back, he added.

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