RESIDENTS in Wantage are getting fed up with a group of travellers who have taken over a peaceful nature reserve.

The small army of caravans moved into the woodland off Grove Road late last week and are still showing no signs of moving.

As well as the eight vehicles, locals say they have seen cows and dogs with the group.

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One resident who asked not to be named said: "My partner walked past the stream to go to work and they have thrown the shopping trollies in the stream, bags of rubbish, old prams and dirty nappies, old food.

"I have been so scared to go down there, it’s so intimidating."

The woman said the group broke a fence to get into the area they are currently camped in.

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It is thought the travellers first tried to pitch up on fields next to Grove Rugby Club on Wednesday but were moved on and turned up at the Grove Road site on Thursday.

The Wantage invasion came days before another group of travellers moved onto Ron Groves recreation ground in Kidlington.

Oxford City Council has now said it has started legal proceedings to move that party on.

It is understood the Wantage group has been reported to Thames Valley Police, but the force said the occupation was a civil matter and it would only get involved if civil proceedings were exhausted.

The nature reserve is on land owned by Vale of White Horse District Council.

Mayor of Wantage Chris McCarthy said the town council's officers were talking to the district council, county council and the police but it was ultimately up to the landowner to initiate legal proceedings to move the group on. 

A Vale of White Horse spokeswoman said: "The situation is being managed by Oxfordshire County Council travellers liaison in conjunction with Thames Valley Police, following site visits from members of Vale of White Horse District Council’s Environmental Protection team.

"It is expected that the travellers will move on from the site by Sunday.”