‘We’re under siege’ because of horse fair, Kenilworth couple claims

The damage to Michael and Sandie Barnwell's garden house
The damage to Michael and Sandie Barnwell's garden house

A Kenilworth couple has claimed they are ‘under siege’ when the Kenilworth horse fair comes around three times a year.

The fair came to Kenilworth once again last weekend, with some travellers arriving on the field as early as Wednesday July 26.

Michael and Sandie Barnwell live in Thickthorn Orchards which is right next to the field off Thickthorn Island where the fair is held. Michael said their windows and garden house were broken by kids wielding catapults on Saturday July 29 at around 4.15pm.

He added: “We heard a crashing noise, went outside and saw that the windows in our garden house had been hit. We found another hole in our double-glazing in our house.

“The people who run the horse fair need to arrange better security - it’s clearly totally ineffective. We feel that we’re under siege.”

The couple has lived next to the field for six years, and Michael believes the problems apparently created by the horse fair have got worse as time has gone on.

Further damage

Further damage

When the fair came last September, he said kids were able to get into his garden by breaking the back door fence down.

He added; “They are so bold, and they seem to have no respect. They just invited themselves into the back garden, and it was very intimidating.

“There should be more people in this vulnerable part of the area making their presence felt. It’s too severe to ignore.

“The fair has become unsustainable.”

When asked if he would have bought his house if he had known about the problems he has faced, Michael he still would, adding: “It’s like buying anything. When you see it on a nice day you can’t ever envisage anything would be wrong. It’s a great place to live.

“But this is the one thing that was genuinely bad. You feel you’d like to go away three times a year, but then you feel you ought to protect your property.”

The police visited Michael after the incident and he said they were very sympathetic to his situation.

They are now looking for witnesses, and anyone with any information is asked to call 101, quoting incident number 316 of July 29.

The horse fair, which is held in April, July and September each year, cannot be stopped by Warwick District Council as it is held on private land. The council work with the event organisers to create a traffic management plan and minimise disruption as much as they can. Police presence is often much heavier in Kenilworth during the fairs.

Warwickshire Police have said no arrests were made over the weekend, although there were reports of low-level antisocial behaviour as well as minor criminal damage. A full summary of incidents during the fair is currently being prepared by Inspector Dafydd Goddard.

The next horse fair and final fair of the year will be held on the same site from Friday September 22 to Sunday September 24.