Film crew mistaken for illegal camping travellers

June 13, 2008 12:00 AM

A BBC Security guard is surprised after film crew trailors were mistaken for illegal travellers' caravansFilm crew mistaken for illegal camping travellers

When illegal travellers were moved on from St Clements Football Club and Cronkeyshaw Common last week, Rochdale Council was left to pay for the huge clean up operation. So, when more trailers arrived at the Innes Centre in Spotland this week, the Council acted quickly to avoid another bill. Some might say a little too quickly...

After receiving complaints from residents of 'suspicious looking caravans' arriving in the area, Council officials, alongside Rochdale Police officers, were fast on the scene in the hope of moving the suspected travellers on and avoiding the scenes of last week, where travellers left behind tonnes of waste at sites where they had illegally camped for more than a week. But on arrival, it soon became apparent that these were not travellers at all, but a BBC film crew doing an outside broadcast for Rochdale-based television drama Waterloo Road.

One of the extras on set said: "We were bemused when a police car turned up, promptly followed by the MP's office. This wasn't scripted but we all had a bit of a laugh when they went. I suppose our set looks a little suspicious, especially after they told me of the recent problems in Rochdale. We are just here to film and we'll move on!"

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "On receiving the complaint, my office swung into action. They had spent most of last week dealing with travellers including the aftermath. On receiving these latest complaints, we were determined to sort this out as soon as possible to avoid problems for local residents.

"On arrival at the scene, they were met with a bemused BBC Camera Crew who were being quizzed by the police. The caravans that were reported were actually a mixture of trailers for the cast and mobile changing rooms! That said, I am pleased that we reacted so quickly and would like to reassure local people that this is simply an outside broadcast. The police and my staff nearly had a 'walk on part' but will leave it to the actors!"