When Scottish Traveller Donald Stewart tries to defend his family from an alleged racist attack at Dyce he is the one arrested. The Travellers believe they are treated unfairly.
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This programme contains some strong language.
The Stewarts are Scottish Travellers, proudly maintaining their traditional lifestyle,
spending most of each year on the road.
Sisters Bella and Christine travel with their husbands Donald and Sammy, and their 13 children.
Punch him out!
Their way of life is often at odds with those whom they refer to as
the settled community, and it's often clear they're not welcome.
They're being cheeky chapsies.
But they are determined to carry on living their lives their way, whatever happens.
We're not allowed in Montrose at all?
Are you the occupier of this caravan?
When the Travellers make the front page of the local paper, Sammy is concerned for their safety.
They'll get a Traveller killed.
And when they claim teenagers have shouted racist abuse at them, it is Donald who is arrested.
He told me, if it doesn't go the right way, you're going down. Prison.
The Travellers are camped at Riverview Drive in Dyce on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Although many Travellers camp here, it is not an official site.
Residents are unhappy about the camp on their doorstep,
and now all the caravans have been served with eviction notices.
Everyone must leave the site or face being charged with unlawful camping.
An incident with local youths has resulted in Donald been arrested,
and Sammy's work tools have been confiscated by the police.
I went into my lorry, I opened up my door
and I've got two power tools, my chainsaws,
they've went into MY vehicle
without my permission.
They never even came and asked of me,
"We're the police. Can we go into it?"
They've never done none of that.
They just went in and took what they needed.
Sammy has decided to make a complaint.
He's going to the police station to ask them why his power tools were taken from his van.
It seems that Donald did more than shake his fists at the teenagers.
According to the police, he chased them away with Sammy's chainsaw.
He said the reason why they took my power tools
was because one of the guys was seen with a power tool in his hand.
Donald has been charged with a breach of the peace and possession of an offensive weapon - a chainsaw.
Me and Sammy, when we're out working and that,
we always take our chainsaws out, we always start them.
They were roaring, so I took it into the back of the truck
because Sammy was working with tools, I was working with tools
and I gave it a couple of revs and I lifted it like that,
but I looked across at them and the next minute they were off.
But it wasn't the hooligans that phoned the police,
it was the same moany people who were in the houses
who complain about everything.
It was them, not the hooligans, who phoned the police.
The families leave Dyce before the eviction notice is enforced.
Sammy and Donald both rent pitches at nearby Clinterty Travellers' Site.
Although they travel most of the year, it provides them with a base and an address.
Sammy has just taken delivery of a static caravan
and he needs to make it secure.
I was going to put stones in the bag.
No, on top of here.
On top of there.
Yeah, but we have to go and lift it up and you have to put them underneath.
Go and put the stones under, Colin.
I told them. Did they do it?
That will hold it the now, like.
Do you think that would hold, Mike?
That's fine. It's just to hold it.
Now we'll have to go and buy heaps of breeze blocks and that,
to put it all underneath and get it all sturdy.
Do you want to see the inside?
What did I do with the keys?
This is the first time the children get to see inside their new home.
That is, if the key fits.
Lift the handle up and turn it round.
-Brainiac can do it.
I hope it's safe.
Ain't nothing in it.
Colin, Colin, Colin, you've got dirt on your boot.
You have, down the side of it.
The caravan pitch has a chalet providing toilet and washing facilities,
but Sammy wants the council to install mains water directly to his van.
Well, we're hoping to get it plumbed in
and that will help the children, because my wee boy Sandy has asthma,
and my wife suffers from problems and all.
That will save them from going into the cold
in the winter time.
It's brand-new and it's big.
And one thing about a travelling man,
if it makes the women happy and the children, that's the main thing.
We just work 12 months a year.
Sammy heads off, hopeful that the council will fit the mains plumbing while the family's off on the road.
The Travellers are camping at Methil in Fife.
It's now August. The children are enjoying the good weather
and Sammy is doing a bit of DIY.
Just trying to put the sealer stuff on to it, but... It is. It's broke.
Go and show mummy you're walking.
His wife Christine is enjoying a special moment.
Her youngest child, Jeremiah, is taking his first tentative steps.
Too excited, eh, Jeremiah?
His dad calls him Tigger cos of the bouncing he does.
Wait until Morag and Sandy sees you.
When Sandy gets him, it won't be long till he's out on his feet. Sandy'll have him out.
< Clever boy!
Sammy and Christine eloped as teenagers.
'We were going out with each other for ages'
and then we just got up one day and went, that was it.
My dad was chasing me right enough, and her mum and dad were after her,
because I had no licence, no driving licence,
and I just jumped in the car and we went.
Go and tell Morag, Maria, that Jeremiah's started stepping.
We knew each other as children,
and as we turned into like teenagers
just basically got to like each other.
I had seven warrants... off the camera!
I did, I had seven outstanding warrants for driving.
They never got me yet.
I suppose when you just know it's the person,
you know that person is for you.
I think I've kept him back.
When I babied him.
-Dada! Dada! Dada!
I've got 22 grandchildren
and they're all good. They're all fine.
But some of them can be wee rascals.
How you keeping, Hannah?
Sammy's mother Hannah has come to visit.
Yesterday I was pretty bad.
Aye, you don't keep very well.
I don't keep very well, son.
-Can I see the photos?
-She's brought some family photos for him to see.
That's me and my sister Marion.
There's your dad.
That's my dad, there.
Sammy was a quite good boy.
Sometimes he used to be a rascal, like the rest.
This is you at the baptism with Marion.
Me and you, Samuel, and Bill,
and Tina and Michael, your brother Michael.
We used to put a harness on him, a baby's harness,
and tie him to the pole
and he would play there with all his toys.
It was safer than one of them going into the road
and getting caught by a car.
That was better for Samuel.
Samuel was just born in Carlisle and the newspapermen came for a story to see inside the tent,
to see what way we lived.
As a newborn, Sammy was taken back to a bough tent,
his family home at that time.
Sammy was good at making bough tents,
him and his father and his mother.
Bough tents are traditional Travellers' accommodation
made from sticks or boughs tied with rags and covered with a tarpaulin.
Although life was hard, Sammy has fond memories of his childhood,
and especially of his father.
I saw my father drinking, coming up from England, and we had no home.
The car broke down in Cornwall, and we landed on top of a wee roundabout,
and my dad went up to the woods, cut up a few boughs, out with the cover and we had a home.
That's all we took.
My dad had a drinking problem.
My dad used to drink a lot and that,
but that doesn't mean to say anything.
Even though he was drunk and that,
he left me heaps of good memories
because he was the type of man who was jokey, laughy,
he was never a fighter.
He always got on with people.
He thought getting on with people was a lot better
than arguing with people and that.
The memories of my father are very, very good.
You know Hannah? Hannah asked me could Morag and Maria come,
and Morag said aye, but I knew you would say no.
Baby Samuel is taking his afternoon nap,
and Bella's five minutes of peace is soon disturbed by nine-year-old Maria.
-You're only 9, not 19.
That's Morag's granny.
'Maria was born with a muscle disorder.
'She never walked until she was over two, she didn't talk.'
She had special milk and that.
The Stewarts have a strong Christian faith that they draw on.
'We went through a hard time with her.
'We didn't know if she was going to be alive or dead.
'Our heads were all over the place.
'I said, to be honest,'
"I'm going away to the pub and I'm going to get drunk."
I was so upset with everything.
Now, Bella's never done this before,
which is why I believe it was the hand of God that caused it.
And she says - I didn't have so many kids then -
"I'm going with you," she says.
I says, "I don't care what you do."
She says, "But I want you to drop me off at the church
"cos all my family goes to church, and I'm going to seek something,
"because they've got something. Those people have got something."
I says, "On you go, because everybody's Bible thumpers.".
-Mummy, can you tie my boots?
-You stay out now and watch your little brother.
'I stopped at the door of the church, and next thing I knew I was sitting on the back row.
'And I crouched down in my seat'
and I said, "What am I doing here?"
I don't know what is says.
What does it say?
'I go up and I says, "Bella." She says, "What?"'
I say, "I want to become a born-again believer." "What?" she says.
Christina, there's a lot of papers you can get out of the way for me.
As Maria lay in the hospital the whole congregation joined Donald in prayer.
'My phone rang,
'and it was my wife Bella.'
She was up at the hospital. She says, "She's not going to make it through the night."
I went, "Lord, if you're going to take her, take her, but I do not want her to suffer pain."
I was crying, to be truthful. You don't care who's looking if it's your child, you cry your heart out.
"But if you're the healing God you say you are," I says and I banged the pulpit,
I says, "Heal her right now!"
I was really angry with God.
Maria, get your hair brushed and put that band in. Hurry up.
landed at the hospital. I walked in...
I almost collapsed
cos I seen doctors of all sorts all round this crib.
When they moved back, here was my little Maria
standing at the cot and she was bouncing with life.
I can see all the houses.
And, er...it was comical.
I was so filled with joy, happy at the time.
The doctor turned round and says,
"Whatever doctor yous have got," he says, "he's beyond us,
"cos this child should never have been alive."
She was never meant to be alive.
The Travellers are camped on the shore, close to a modern housing estate.
I would never choose to live in a house.
I have, but I didn't like it.
It's like you're in prison then.
You've got the same people around you
and, like, you just can't adapt to it.
Although many of Scotland's 23,000 Travellers now live in houses,
official statistics estimate only around 2,000 Travellers still take to the roads each year.
Alex and Christine are cleaning their caravan.
You don't put it on...
Their brother Donnie holds traditional Traveller views.
This is all a Traveller girl's supposed to do, just tidy the caravan.
-Boys go working.
-Who's pound is this?
-She found it.
-She left it lying on top of the seat.
I don't agree with Traveller girls working,
because before you know it, if a year goes by, if they're still working,
they get into the settled community and they kind of forget about Travellers.
"We'll go camping, we'll go out in the caravan this year." Never comes.
-I'm just leaving this up here.
Yous have been teached to get a job, go to school,
get your degrees, whatever.
That's what yous has been teached.
We've been teached different ways to...
It's just different, you know what I mean?
A girl Traveller, erm...
Girls, it's not allowed to do pretty much anything.
Girls get to stay home, clean, cook,
look after children, be respectful.
We don't go out, like, with boys, out in cars and messing around,
and be like...
You've got to be really sensible.
You can't, like, go around just date every boy and you can't go around
talking to boys because you get a bad name for it, you do.
But boys, they can go out there and do pretty much whatever they want and they'll get off with it.
Girls are a different story because boys can, like,
defend themselves, but lasses can't.
Even now, many Travellers lack a full formal education.
I've never been to school in my life. Never.
The only time I saw a school was when I put my own daughters in.
I couldn't tell yous. I'm not going to lie.
I've never been to school.
I wished I knew how to read a bit more.
I can read, but not enough
and I find it hard to deal with letters and things.
But I do want schooling for mine.
So I wouldn't mix the picture up...
..because this day in age is different from when I grew up.
It doesn't seem all that long ago, but it is a lot harder now.
There is... You need a lot of schooling to get by today.
My Alex has left school now.
She was in all last winter.
But she's 13 past, so they want her to go high school,
and I just don't want her to go there.
They learn a lot of bad habits in high school.
You get told one thing, but your child's standing in a corner somewhere else.
And there's the other hand, there's the bullying because you're a Traveller.
It's different in primary.
There's a different story when they come 13, 14.
There's bigger children and they're spiteful-er.
It just kind of always causes that deflection between Travellers.
14-year-old Donnie no longer goes to school.
I've learnt every kind of work.
Everything I can make money out of, go and sell batteries,
and go looking, peel copper, burn copper,
go in to the eyelets, save up alloy wheels, go ask for it.
All types of work.
Anything you can make money at.
Well, you should be married about 19, 20.
You should get your own life before it gets too late.
But it's really your own choice, what you want to do with your life, is it?
is really manly.
They grow up before their time.
It's cos the minute they hit 17, it's like licence, lorry, work.
That's it. Save, save, save until they get married. That's it.
They provide for their marriage.
That's how they do it.
I'll just work like my dad did.
Save up till I've got enough money to get a home, get my own nice car,
so then I can get married.
You know what I mean?
Tina is almost 17.
Would she ever consider eloping like her parents did?
If I turn around and says, "I want to go away right now,"
my dad would actually go mental at me because...
I know his boundaries and I don't push them.
I don't mix with anyone else, except from Travellers.
I know my pals, I know they're the same as me.
I've got a strict father, strict upbringing,
not allowed to date anyone, not allowed to go out with anyone,
not allowed to run away.
With the camp right on their doorstep,
local residents are well aware of their new neighbours.
However, Tina feels it is the residents who are invading her space, not the other way round.
When we're, like, in this kind of place, a built-up area, with all them kind of people,
when we're doing our thing, it's like they're always there,
always nosing, and it's not nice.
It's not like we go to the doors of their houses
and noses through what they're doing.
But...that's just, like, they like doing that.
As dusk falls, some local teenagers approach the camp.
-THEY LAUGH We're on telly!
-Why are you saying that?
-Alex tells big sister Tina that they have been calling her names.
They're being cheeky chapsies.
What is it, Alex?
They're being cheeky. What'd they say?
They were going, "That's gypsies, let's get our arse out to them",
and being cheeky and all that.
See what we've got to go through?
The teenagers may have been cheeky,
but they haven't done any physical harm.
-See what I mean?
-But Tina is worried they may come back later and cause more trouble.
I'm going to get my daddy, right? No, he'll come out and see this.
THEY LAUGH Get your tits out!
-She decides to tell her father Donald what's been happening.
Look, that's them up there, hiding.
Earlier in the year, Donald was arrested in Dyce for chasing some local teenagers with a chainsaw.
The case is due to be heard in court soon.
-Is it all lasses, aye?
-No, two, three boys.
-I want you to tie the dog. Now.
-Come on, bud.
This time, he is keen to avoid any trouble.
-But you would complain if he's barking.
-I've got him!
You see the cheek we get off them now?
Yous are deid!
He asks Tina to tie up the dogs and sets off to investigate the matter.
We're giving them a fright so they won't come back tonight.
Donald has a few words with them.
Because if nothing gets done about it, then they'll be back doing...
There's more of us than them.
Putting stones through the windows and all that, so you've got to give them a fright so they stay away.
Whoever had their underwear out or something, just doesn't want this kind of trouble or something.
What they say doesn't really matter.
Like, wherever we go we get that, it's no difference.
Next day, the Travellers are tidying up.
They don't want last night's trouble to escalate, so it's time to move on.
The Travellers are taking Donnie to Glenrothes,
where he will compete in the British Schoolboys Boxing Championship.
-How's the woman getting there?
-Aye, she's coming up to meet us.
Earlier in the year, Donnie won a silver medal in the Scottish championship.
This time he's hoping to bring home the gold.
I'm really stuck. I don't really know what I want for my life.
I think I would like to go on with my boxing,
come through, make a name,
cos we never actually had anything in our family that's made a big name.
I would like our name to be... spoken about.
My mum's a McDonald and my dad's a Stewart,
so that's what I want to do it for,
so when I become professional my name will get shouted out in the ring.
Everyone will hear I'm a Stewart and McDonald.
He has plenty of support, including his uncle Sammy.
-How many of us?
-I think it's 16 of us.
Yeah, including children and adults.
16. It's a big event.
The best young boxers from Scotland, England and Wales are competing here today.
Donnie is checking out the opposition.
That's nothing to look at. Looks can deceive you.
The other one's wee, he says. He's fine.
But he's built like that.
He's not bothered about him.
He's no' bothered.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now move on to the next...
Donnie is boxing in the semifinal against a Welsh opponent.
And introducing to you, in the red corner, from Scotland, Donald Stewart!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And across the ring, in the blue corner, all the way from Wales, it's Geraint Jones.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Come on, Donnie.
Come on, Donnie!
Come on, Donnie!
That's it, that's it, that's it!
Come on, Donnie.
Get in there!
Get right in with five or six tight punches. Bang, bang, bang.
Don't be reckless, Donnie, right?
Come, on, Donnie!
Come on, Donnie!
The fight is close.
Whoever wins this will be in the final.
Come on, Donnie! Come on, son!
Ladies and gentlemen, please show appreciation for two gladiators of the ring.
By a computer score of two-two,
it goes to a count back.
And on the count back the scores were recorded five-five.
We'll then go to an individual score of the judges.
Ladies and gentlemen,
by a score of the narrowest of margins, three to two...
..in the red corner, Donald Stewart!
-Ladies and gentlemen, please show your appreciation.
Donald is ecstatic.
Young Donnie is now in with a shot at the gold medal.
Oh, yes, I'm proud. I'm proud of him.
Proud of him.
I believe you'll have a gold.
I know in the bottom of my
heart he's going to take it.
A year ago I wasn't doing none of this.
I'm in the British Championships! Who knows, I might be the British Champion!
Donald calls Bella with the good news.
Hello, it's me. Did you hear he won?
Aye, he won. Do you know who he's fighting tomorrow?
Donnie is up against the same boy who beat him in the Scottish final.
Also representing Scotland, in the blue corner,
Seconds out, first round.
Come on, Donnie!
'I've actually had punches that took water to my eyes.
'You know, when you get punched right on your nose it takes water to the
'eyes, and then that's when you just dig in, you just get stuck into it.'
'All that noise just goes blank in my head.
'The noise of all the other people. The noise of the bells.
'The noise of everybody screaming for other people.'
I don't hear none of it. When you're in that ring,
people maybe won't believe it, but you can't hear a sound.
It's just stone quiet.
You wouldn't even hear a pin drop.
It's quiet as anything to me.
'In my mind it's just him I'm seeing.
'I'm focussing. It's all about focus.'
Get in, Donnie! Get him!
My dad always says I don't want you to be like me,
I want you to do something with your life.
So I want to be a boxer.
But, of course, it can't always go my way.
In the red corner, David Farrell.
By the total score of four points to zero...
Donnie has won a British Schoolboys Silver Medal.
I had a fishing rod when I was three year old.
My dad bought me it.
You don't really know what can happen in five years' time, do you?
Maybe I'll stop. Maybe I'll stop, maybe I'll get worse.
I could get better at boxing.
Anything could happen in five years.
It might just come out of my mind. It might just be a fantasy.
It might come out of my mind and... I don't think it's a fantasy. It's what I want to do.
That's the wee-est I've ever caught!
The last time I caught bigger ones than that.
If it was something about that size I would be proud.
I've known boys who are brilliant boxers, could have went pro.
I've seen them box, absolutely brilliant.
And then soon as they got their driving licence,
buggering off and not boxing.
Fishing is a slow sport, but it's always worth it at the end.
Start going out drinking and just not boxing.
That's not me.
I want to make something of my life.
Sammy has returned to Clinterty Travellers' Site to check on his static caravan.
In addition to the parking bay, the Council provides a small chalet with basic facilities.
Toilet facility there. And just a sink for washing.
That's our own washing machine, our own dryer.
That's all our own.
Sammy would like mains water so his family can use the shower and toilet inside the caravan, but nothing has
been done since their new static arrived on site several months ago.
You're still paying I think it's £80 a week or £79 a week.
For what? For what?
I paid for the static myself.
This is what we're paying 80 odd pounds for.
In addition to rent, both families pay Council Tax for their Clinterty address.
We actually had to move on the site.
It's not what we picked, it's what they picked.
At the end of the day, it's what Aberdeen City Council... This is where they picked to put us.
At the end of the day, you just want to be treated equal, the same,
people in the houses and the people in the caravans, you know?
That's all we want, to be treated equal.
Although Sammy is disappointed, he leaves Clinterty in the hope that the van with be plumbed in soon.
It's now September and the Travellers are heading for Montrose and Angus.
They're going to visit family in the town and to look for whelks along the nearby coastline.
Sammy sets up camp at the links, common ground beside the golf course.
Donald and Bella plan to join them later.
I'd say we've been coming here since about the
last eight years.
This field where we are staying,
you wouldn't believe the amount of dog walkers who come here anyway.
That's all they basically use it for.
It's different, the likes of here, because I knew where I was coming to.
But sometimes it's very stressful if you're on the road
you don't know where to go, you're frightened of the police.
I'm going to set up the dogs. I've got lurcher dogs.
I'll put my dog over to that wee spot there, the rough kind of part,
because it gives you a good warning if anybody comes about and that.
If it's not used to you she'll give a bark and that.
That's you set up camp!
Less than an hour after their arrival, the Travellers are visited by the police.
Members of the public have complained about yourselves.
All we're here to do is just to get some details of your vehicles and
what your intentions are, how long you're intending to stay here, OK?
We're about 55 minutes into the hour, we're just under the hour.
I haven't seen anybody to have several complaints.
I've never seen anybody since I landed here.
Well, it's just because you're parking on
Well, because it's a links.
-The same address as your husband?
You know, that's
obviously not good for the community to see litter
and human faeces, so
it's basically a process we're going through at the moment.
What we need to do is we need to know are the children yours?
-All mine, yeah.
-We'll need to know their details. Right...
The Travellers have their personal details recorded,
along with those of their children and their vehicles.
They said, you'll be expecting us
coming in the middle of the night.
I said, why? Why do you have to come in the middle of the night?
They said, just checking on you, keeping an eye on you.
I mean, what harm are we doing?
We're just sitting here, a family guy with children.
I mean, what could I do in a big massive field,
Despite the police visit, the Travellers stay on in Montrose.
They're awoken by another police visit the next morning.
Do you've another vehicle you're going to be out in at all?
-Yes, a Transit van.
-Once again, all their details are recorded.
You know, the feeling you get when you even pull in, if there
are people actually walking their dogs, you just get the feeling that they're against you, you know?
I haven't got a clue why they don't like us.
I don't know why, I don't know what harm are we doing
and I've never hardly spoke to a settled person in the community.
I don't even know. I'm just passing through.
You're just there for a short time and away.
Sammy is upset by their treatment in Montrose.
He believes that Travellers have traditionally camped on this ground and they're doing no harm.
He would like the Council to work with Travellers to create a better relationship.
They could put bins down.
They could maybe put toilets there.
They could do what Morayshire and Aberdeenshire's been helping the
Travellers and that way there's no mess.
You don't feel like you're an actual person.
You get treated like an animal, actually here in Montrose.
You don't get treated like a human.
Bella arrives at the links with her children,
and following her are the Sheriff Officers sent by the council to issue eviction notices.
I think they're a clannish little town and stuck up,
if you ask me. And they're very, very prejudiced because
in their eyes they want to keep this as a little holiday-making village
and they've got no time for Travellers.
No time whatsoever.
Donald arrives towing the last of the caravans.
As he reverses into position, on the edge of the links, the police show up again.
Hey! The boys in blue! My God!
-I'm not even three minutes here.
-What's your name, please?
Donald John Stewart.
What's your date of birth?
-Is he yours, Bella?
-BELLA: The 170th time(!)
I never assume these things.
Do you have any other kids?
-With you here?
-They're all up at the park.
-I've got seven.
-In that wee caravan?
Excuse me, if you don't mind, right?
I'm not being cheeky and that, but what has all the children got to do with it?
-They're all staying here, is all.
-Yeah, but they are children, we're the guardians.
I'm taking details of the occupants of the caravans.
That's what I've been asked to do, occupants of the caravans.
It is the third police visit in 24 hours.
They plan to stay until the tides change, collecting whelks,
but now they have an eviction notice hanging over them.
Sammy and Christine have their sleep disturbed during the night.
At half past three last night, we were in bed since the back of 11,
we'd heard a car, bright lights shining. We looked out the window,
it was the police who were creeping by slowly past the caravans, past ours,
and down to Don and Bella's. Out slowly and then at half-five in the morning, I was feeding the wee one
and another police car in.
The next day the police returned, their 4th formal visit in 48 hours.
I'll let my colleague speak to you.
-You were issued with your 48 hour warning two days ago.
So now we are issuing a 24 hour warning for you to leave the area.
So, I'm allowed another 24 hours?
24 hours and tomorrow we will be back.
-That's where I'm parking now.
-24 hours they will be back - this time tomorrow.
Under normal circumstances you would have been visited by the council, a welfare visit,
and someone from the housing department to tell you where the legal
-travelling sites are, where you could go.
There are camping sites. There's a site at then South Lights.
I phoned one this morning, but the maximum stay is three days.
Could you take us to Christine, now and we'll let her know?
Montrose has a Travellers' site, but like most of the 28 council sites throughout Scotland,
it is permanently full with no temporary base for Travellers on the move like Sammy and Donald.
-I'll be away by 12.30, 1 o'clock.
The police suggest they go to Tealing on the outskirts of Dundee,
but there is no guarantee there are any spaces there either.
Every time we do come down to spend a week or so we get told to go to Tealing.
It is over 30 miles away.
We didn't intend to come to Tealing, we came to Montrose.
-I'll be out of here at 12.30 tomorrow. I want no charges.
-Very good, Samuel.
-See you later.
Despite calls for temporary halting sites for Travellers, none of the
local authorities in Scotland have provided them.
This is a caravan that wasn't here yesterday.
More sheriff officers arrive to present a further eviction notice on Donald's caravan.
-It's the same caravan.
-Are you going to give it to a 10-year-old lassie?
Young Donnie records the event on video.
Excuse me! Just give it to me in my hand.
It has got to go on the caravan.
-Give it to me in my hand. I'll be putting it in the bin anyway.
-It has got to go on this caravan.
-Catch it out of his hand. You're accepting it.
-You are the occupier of this caravan?
-Yeah, he occupies it.
-DONNIE: I occupy it.
Are you the chap from Aberdeen?
-Come down from Aberdeen?
-How do you know that?
My colleagues spoke to your wife yesterday and said you would be coming down.
Common ground has always been available for travellers,
because common ground is not just for travellers,
it is for communities, show people, everything, it is for that use. Nobody owns it.
For centuries, Travellers camped on common ground,
but now these areas are council maintained and the Travellers are regularly refused access.
With the threat of eviction hanging over them,
they all agree it is better to move on than stay and be charged.
The Travellers have moved half-a-mile away, still within Montrose.
If I never moved off that bit over there, I had another half hour and they were coming down to charge me.
The thing is if I was in a caravanette over there
they wouldn't come in and I would not be bothered.
They wouldn't even bother me.
Come on. It's moving.
I don't think the police has got nothing else to do than come and harass people 24 hours a day.
The next morning the police are back again.
Even though they have moved their location, the eviction notice is still active.
The thing is, you know what's supposed to be happening, you have received a warning.
-We did - from over there.
Not from over here.
You can't just move from A to B and think...
But we moved from there over to here.
You think you can charge people for different ground, yes?
You are still within Montrose.
-So we're not allowed in Montrose at all?
-You must be racist, against Travellers.
-Are we not part of the public?
-It is nothing to do with racism whatsoever.
-If we're not allowed in Montrose.
-You've been warned you're not allowed on the land.
But what I'm saying is we are not allowed in Montrose at all?
-No, that's not what we're saying.
-You just said it.
-I am allowed to speak.
-Would you tell your son to stop videoing us.
We're allowed to do this because it's a camcorder in my home.
-There is a camcorder there.
-This camcorder inside here.
-We have been warned, we understand
that, but we can't understand we've been warned for different areas.
It is still considered as being the same area.
It is common ground, the council don't own it.
They maintain it but they don't own it.
There is no point in getting yourself agitated.
Just get on with the job because I'm not moving anyway.
To us we moved to a different area.
-We cannot read and cannot write.
I am illiterate.
When I get told to move off the property we think we're doing the right thing by moving away.
You can see we were trying to keep within the law.
At the end of the day we are here to do our job.
-I'm not against you for that. I know you're doing your job.
-I am doing as I am told.
The charge is that between 19th September and the 24th, which is today, you occupied and camped
on land at Marine Drive, Montrose, which is where we are just now. Being private land without the
consent or permission of the owner or legal occupier of such land, Angus council in this case.
That is contrary to the Trespass Scotland Act of 1865 section 3 as amended by Schedule 1 part 6 of
the statute of a law of repeals Act 1973, and Schedule 9 of the Roads Scotland Act 1984,
the Trespass Scotland Act.
Do you understand all that?
I don't understand none of that.
All we wanted was a fortnight and we were out of here.
It doesn't matter how heavy the authorities come on top of me, the police, the council
can arrest me, it is not going to take Traveller away. I'm still a Traveller.
The Travellers have moved north into Aberdeenshire.
There are no official stopping places available to
them so they have camped on a farm track outside Kinneff.
Donald is heading off to Aberdeen to meet with his solicitor.
Earlier in the year he was charged with a breach of the peace and possession of an offensive weapon.
He claims teenagers shouted racist abuse at his family
while they were camping at Dyce and he chased them away with a chainsaw.
Donald thinks he is the victim of a racist attack.
His day in court is fast-approaching.
I tried to tell them. There was eight of them,
eight of them, which is of the statement, and one of me.
And I'm the violent one?
So, where is the justice in that?
There is no justice, is there?
There's no justice at all.
Donald believes he was protecting his family and says he had no intention of harming anyone.
They told me if it
doesn't go the right way you're going down to prison.
It is now November and Sammy and Christine have returned
to Clinterty Travellers' site for the winter months.
Earlier in the year the Council allocated a grant to upgrade the site,
but little appears to have been done.
We were meant to get a lot of money from the council to get the caravan park done up,
we were meant to get Tarmac and concrete
and these things were meant to be done, a swing park for the children and it's
almost a year down the line and there has been nothing done.
There was 240,000 to be spent and so far there has been a few chalets
-up that end done - a couple of hundred pounds of paint.
-As you can see.
The thing is we pay £77 a week, that's £380, £390 a month.
-When you think about it.
-It's a lot of money to use that toilet.
The council was asking me why don't you just get a house, but I don't want to go to a house.
-That is my choice. That is the human rights.
-You can't change a person.
My human rights, my culture, we believe in this so we are proud of this.
The man in the house is paying a mortgage, buying his house,
he does a job, he has those things, he will not
change that for our lifestyle, so I am not going to change my lifestyle for that.
It is the same way. You know.
As Donald's court date approaches, he is worried he will receive a
custodial sentence leaving his family to fend for themselves.
When a race of people like the Jews were despised, it doesn't matter what we say, it is never right.
We are always liars.
I am not going to stop until the end of my days, even if I am 70.
I'll have to get my son or somebody to move me about.
It will be in the mind all the time.
-I can't be anything else but a Traveller.
Because I am not born to be anything else.
Since the day I was born I have been brought into a caravan, so I don't know anything else.
We choose to travel and they choose to settle down.
I know they'll never see us for other decent people.
All I want to do is, when we go places, I don't want them to be thinking we are something so bad.
We do not hide what we are. We are proud of what we are and we will stand up and tell people
We are the Travellers.
Not ashamed, never will be.
At the end of the day it doesn't matter if I am a Traveller
or what I am,
I'll still be standing on that judgement seat beside the Lord on the day of judgment
as an equal beside everybody else. And I will be judged fairly.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
When Scottish Traveller Donald Stewart tries to defend his family from an alleged racist attack at Dyce, near Aberdeen, he is the one arrested.
The Travellers believe they are treated unfairly and they want settled people to be more tolerant of their Traveller culture, but as they move around the country they are not made welcome. In Montrose they are given several police warnings before being charged with illegal camping.
Young Donnie competes in the British Schoolboy Boxing Final, and sister Tina describes what it's like to be a Traveller girl today. As Donald's court case nears, he is told he may go to prison. What does the future hold for the Scottish Travellers?