YORK Travellers Trust has urged residents not to tar all travellers with the same brush after dog walkers complained about mess left on a site north of the city.

About 20 caravans pitched up on the site off Shipton Road, which is privately-owned, at the end of last month.

The caravan owners have now moved on, but have left behind piles of litter, including an old television and a fridge, as well as garden rubbish.

Christine Shepherd, co-ordinator of the York Travellers Trust, said: “The travellers who have pulled up on to that site are nothing to do with the travelling community in York area.”

She said they were families from other areas who were passing through for short periods of time to visit fairs and did not live in the York area. She said: “It happens every year and it gets blamed on our community.

“It’s unfair because it’s other families that travel up and down, not the families we work with who are really responsible at getting rid of their rubbish.

“They do bag rubbish up and put it on the side of the road to be picked up.

“Unfortunately, a small minority of the community don’t do that and it’s quite frustrating because the travelling community in the York area then get targeted.

“Gipsies and travellers are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the York area and it incites anger towards the community.

“At the end of the day, they’ve got enough to deal with without being targeted by the general public and being accused of things they have not done.”

The travellers told The Press at the time they were heading to Pickering Traction Rally, an event they attend every year.

One woman said that if the council provided them with binbags they would leave the rubbish neatly piled when they left.

A spokeswoman for City of York Council said that if the travellers had left the rubbish in a neat pile, they could help the landowner by clearing it up, but that it was the private landowner’s responsibility.