A VILLAGE is "in lockdown" after business owners closed their doors as nearly 100 caravans descended on the beauty spot for a 'festival'.
Pubs and shop owners claim they have been forced to close in Cheddar, Somerset after facing a tirade of abuse from attendees.
Guests in caravans, campervans, trailers, and motorhomes arrived on Monday and have allegedly wreaked havoc across the picturesque village ever since.
Locals claim they have been the victims of anti-social behaviour and were threatened by festival-goers who unexpectedly rolled up – causing traffic mayhem in the remote village, famed for inventing cheddar cheese.
Residents have complained they are now "under lockdown" again as local businesses shut up shop in fear – with one suggesting to "nail down anything valuable."
At least one pub has shut early twice this week and the local football club has postponed a home match due to what they described as "a situation in the village."
The unexpected gathering, which some have said is a "mini-festival", is set to continue all week on a field that regularly hosts car boot sales.
One local confirmed to Somerset Live that the charity shop she works at is shut because of "threatening behaviour".
Another said: "To drive through Cheddar this afternoon was like a full lockdown again – I can’t think these businesses wouldn’t shut if it wasn’t serious."
"Young louts from the ‘rally’ went along the High Street in Cheddar this afternoon shouting and acting as louts, kicking rubbish boxes onto the busy main road," a livid local also wrote.
"When asked to stop and pick them up, being met with a tirade of the foulest language ever."
The caravan convention has sparked concern amongst villagers, who shared their thoughts on social media.
Some believe it is some kind of "rally", or "festival", with others labelling it as a gathering.
One worried resident wrote on Facebook: "Who thought it was a good idea to hold the biggest caravan rally I've ever seen in the village?
"Traffic chaos in the village as badly organised traffic control and cars and caravans queuing to enter the field! Watch our numbers skyrocket now!"
"It is a Christian Gypsy Festival," another suggested. "The landowner Ashley Hann was misled into agreeing to something far smaller and is currently trying to manage the situation.
"I can't see them moving on so I suggest you nail down anything valuable and call 101 if you see any suspicious/illegal activity – that is the only way to get the police support I'm afraid we are likely to need."
A third chimed in: "Cheddar not a great place for gatherings, too small and tiny winding roads, what were they thinking!"
Just after 2pm on Monday, the Riverside Inn and Restaurant told punters on its Facebook page that it was closing for the day "with immediate effect" due to "unforeseen circumstances."
Mobile street food business, Rachel's Grill, also announced their closure "due to the recent event happening in Cheddar this week."
Parish councillor Christina Brown assured the community that the parish council were unaware of any such events this week.
"NOTHING TO DO WITH ME"
In a Facebook post, she said: "I made the Parish Clerks aware of this earlier today and they've let the PCSOs know (although I'm pretty sure the PCSOs were already aware).
"Usually I get to hear about large gatherings via Parish Council meetings but this one's come as a surprise. Hopefully, Mr Hann won't have any unexpected difficulties."
The owner of the field, Ashley Hann told Bristol Live the carnage was "nothing to do with me."
He explained, "I only let the land for six days to them. They’ll be gone on Friday. They said about 50 caravans would come but I reckon it’s probably more like 80 or 90.
"They didn’t tell me what it was all for, so I have no idea. What they do off the site is nothing to do with me.
“The police have come out and they’ve told me I’ve done nothing wrong, and that they are just going to be monitoring the situation now."
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