Travellers run riot on A414

PUBLISHED: 11:16 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:42 26 October 2009

DOZENS of travellers caused chaos on the A414 as illegal pony-and-trap races took place. According to police and eye witnesses distressed horses were whipped as they were forced to race along the dual carriageway. Police crews struggled to bring order. Fl

DOZENS of travellers caused chaos on the A414 as illegal pony-and-trap races took place.

According to police and eye witnesses distressed horses were whipped as they were forced to race along the dual carriageway.

Police crews struggled to bring order.

Flat-back trucks

About 60 travellers - many of whom were stood on the back of flat-back trucks - were involved in the races on Saturday afternoon.

They had turned the A414 between the Holwell caravan site and Mill Green into a makeshift racetrack for two races.

The first time, a horse-and-trap was steered into a police car as officers tried to stop them.

Police were then blocked off by up to 20 vehicles, as they tried to disband a second race.

Travellers even exposed themselves to female officers.

On both occasions all involved disappeared into the Holwell site to evade capture.

Sgt Keith Dean of Hatfield neighbourhood team said: "Throughout the event a total disrespect of the law and extreme danger to the public was shown, together with harsh treatment of the animals, who deserved better."

Officers also raised concerns about the treatment dished out to the animals, who were said to be foaming at the mouth and left in a state of exhaustion.

Pc Jo Wakelen told the WHT: "They really were beating the horses to make them go faster and faster. It's vicious, it really is.

"We've got great concerns about those horses because of the brutality shown to them."

# A man from St Albans was arrested and bailed following Saturday's events.

chris.lennon@whtimes.co.uk

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