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Salford MP appeals for calm after shooting at illegal traveller site

Local MP Rebecca Long-Bailey has expressed upset and concern over reports of a shooting at an illegal traveller’s site in Salford.

Armed police were called to a vacant patch of land at Amersham Street, off Liverpool Street, earlyon Tuesday morning after two men on pushbikes shouted abuse at a traveller and fired shots at his van.

No-one was injured, but four young children were sleeping in a caravan just yards from the van at the time of the shooting.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were treating the incident as a hate crime and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

It’s understood the small group of travellers arrived on Sunday 14 August. Police said threats had been made by two men earlier on Monday just hours before the shooting.

It’s understood all the travellers have now left the area in the wake of the police investigation.

Detective Inspector Kenny Blain from GMP’s Salford Borough said: “We could have easily been dealing with a very different, more tragic situation here.

“Guns are not welcome on our streets and we are doing all that we can to find these man so they can’t put anyone else in danger.”

Tensions have spiked in recent weeks with residents posting reports through SalfordOnline’s social media channels of travellers setting up camps without permission at sites in Duchy, Walkden and Salford.

While local councillors have stressed that Salford is proud to be a multi-cultural city, relations between local communities and some – not all – travellers are at an all-time low.

Read: Shooting at illegal traveller site in Salford linked to race-hate

Rebecca Long-Bailey, who represents Salford and Eccles, said the report of the shooting was “extremely upsetting”.

She told SalfordOnline.com: “Hate crime of any kind has no place in Salford, and it is unacceptable to threaten families and children in this way.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles since May 2015

Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles since May 2015

“It is very worrying that those involved were using guns which could have so easily injured or killed someone, god forbid a child.

“I would call upon those involved to think twice before doing anything like this ever again and if any members of the community have any information please contact the police.

The Salford MP said it was “a real concern” that she had been contacted by residents multiple times over the past year to report illegal roadside camps springing up across the city.

“I do understand the issues and pressures faced by the local community and the travelling community from illegal roadside camping.

“Salford has generally done very well in doing its bit in providing secure space for the travelling community and many other areas are doing their fair share but others do need to do much more.

In May 2007 a regional Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) undertaken by Salford University and the University of Birmingham identified a need in the North West over the period 2006-2016 for an additional 141 pitches for gypsies and travellers.

Long-Bailey added: “It is clear that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority must urgently assesses how quickly it can achieve these targets as soon as possible to ensure that there is sufficient capacity on dedicated sites for travellers so that they can feel safe and secure whilst at the same time easing any potential pressure on the local community.”

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.