TRAVELERS on their way to Europe’s largest gypsy festival were daubed with racist graffiti in their vans.
Footage of the vandalism was shared online ahead of the Appleby Horse Fair in Appleby-in-Westmoreland. Cumbria – sparked widespread anger.
Owners of the vans parked overnight woke up to find they were covered in spray paint including the words “GYPSY”, “GYPOS”, “NO PARKING” and “F*** OFF”.
TikTok videos posted by the account @bareknuckle_boxing showed a young girl among the onlookers of the damage.
CCTV footage also allegedly shows the moment the criminal spread the heinous messages.
The clips sparked hundreds of comments, many sympathetic to the travelers heading to the event – although the trolls responded with laugh emojis.
One person remarked, “This is not okay! Why are people like this?”, while another said, “It’s shocking what social media has turned us into.”
Other comments included “This is out of order”, “This is not necessary”, “Disgusting behavior” and “This is very cruel”.
Laughter from others — as well as mockery of “karma” — also sparked a backlash.
One viewer wrote: “The comments on this video just show how petty people are and that they have never been with people who travel to know that there is good and bad in all walks of life.”
The Appleby Horse Fair typically attracts around 10,000 travelers each year to buy and sell horses, housed in more than 1,000 caravans and 3,000 horse-drawn carriages.
Throughout the day ponies could be seen trotting the streets while youngsters rode their horses across the River Eden to wash them.
The 250-year-old fair welcomes members of Gypsy, Roma and itinerant communities, including Irish Travelers and British Romanichal.
It was canceled in 2001 due to foot and mouth disease and again in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions.
Last year it was pushed back a week to avoid a collision with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – and this time a similar start date has been set.
The faire originated in the 1770s on Gallows Hill where sheep, cattle and horse traders sold their stock. By the 20th century it had developed into an event for gypsies and travelers.
This year’s event, which officially starts today, is taking place in warm weather and the Met Office is issuing a hot weather health alert for the upcoming weekend.
Britons are expected to experience temperatures of up to 30C in some areas and organizers of the Appleby Horse Fair have posted a website warning horse owners to look after their animals.
Meanwhile, RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy said: “The weather is a big factor at the show and the weather forecast says it’s going to be hot.”
“Just as it is important for us to drink plenty of fluids and not exert ourselves too much in hot weather, it is also important for our horses.
“They must have regular access to water, drink after work and be tethered in the shade.
“Owners may need to be more patient than normal as horses sometimes do not want to drink when they are in an overly irritable environment.”