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REVEALED: Burnt car graveyard and fly-tip scandal by 'Henry Vincent traveller site'

November 1, 2018

DUMP: Smouldering waste in Star Lane and a wrecked car in a field 

THESE were the shocking scenes near a controversial traveller site in the days after Henry Vincent was killed in a botched burglary.

These previously unpublished images show a burnt car graveyard, blazing rubbish and several fly-tipping sites in the road and fields leading to the Star Lane Caravan Park in St Mary Cray, near Orpington, south London - connected to Vincent's extended clan of travellers.  Vincent, 37, was fatally wounded after being stabbed with a screwdriver during a scuffle with homeowner Richard Osborne-Brooks during a botched burglary at the 78-year-old pensioner's home in Hither Green, South London, on April 4.

BURGLED: Richard Osborne-Brooks

KILLED: Henry Vincent 

Mr Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without charge. 

Essex News and Investigations visited the site, and nearby housing estate, where Vincent and many of his relatives lived, in the days after his death.

The van driven by Vincent's suspected accomplice, Billy Jeeves, , at the time of the burglary was found burnt out in Star Lane just days later.

HOMES: The Star Lane Caravan Park 

We found it was just one of many vehicles and motorbikes that had been abandoned in fields near the site, and seemingly set on fire, and left to rust. 

Nearby residents claimed the area had been plagued with fly-tipping and burnt-out vehicles for years.

 

GRAVEYARD: Three burnt out vehicles in close proximity 

In fields north of Star Lane and east of the caravan site, we discovered a graveyard of burnt out vehicles.

There were at least eight vehicles and two motorbikes, some hidden in wooded areas, and evidence of recent fires.

None had "police aware" stickers.

 

EYESORE: Fields surrounding the site were riddled with seemingly unchecked vehicle shells 

A Met Police spokesman was unable to confirm if the vehicles had ever been inspected to see if they were stolen.  

A 1km stretch of Star Lane itself was riddled with fly tipped waste, some of which was still smouldering after being burnt.

Drivers using the single-track road had to dodge an array of piles of refuse, including builders' and garden waste, furniture and metal. 

 

MESS: Star Lane is blighted by fly-tipping 

A non-traveller resident of Star Lane, aged in his 50s, said: "Cars are burnt out all the time, they get nicked and they leave them there. The police and council just let them do what they want.

"The rubbish in the lane is horrific. If the council clear it up, it is back the next day, so they don't bother anymore.

It is not clear who is responsible for the fly-tipping or burnt out cars, but one traveller on the estate, aged in his 60s, said: "People come from all over to dump stuff because they know it will be blamed on us.

"What happened with the burglary but you get bad apples in all walks of life, most of us have got on with everyone round here for years."

 

 

ENOUGH: Residents want action over persistent fly-tipping 

Harold Barker, 72, is chairman of the Cray Valley East Residents' Panel which has been working to get more action about the fly-tipping.

He said: "The council has a policy of only picking it up at certain times, but things have improved, it was worse here 20 years ago."

A Bromley Council spokesperson said fly-tipping was removed from Star Lane after our visit, and that sometimes officers did several clear ups there a week. 

He said: "Signage has been installed in this road but it is not uncommon for signs to be removed and/or damaged.

 

 

SHOCKER: More discarded vehicles litter the landscape 

"We are taking action to tackle the anti-social and criminal behaviour of the fly-tippers, reduce incidents, and where evidence exists, then we will prosecute." 

Jeeves and Vincent hail from an extended family of travellers who live at the caravan site and in nearby housing association homes.

Vincent lived in a house on the estate, off Star Lane, which has one of the UK's biggest traveller populations living in conventional housing.

A non traveller resident of the estate said: "As for the 'prize fighter' Henry Vincent, he picked on the wrong elderly person, but the way they go on round here you would think he'd done nothing wrong."

ORNATE: A memorial to a late member of the Vincent clan in St Mary Cray Cemetery 

The St Mary Cray Cemetery, opposite the housing estate, has several ornate graves where members of the Romany Traveller community have been buried, including elders of the Vincent clan. 

Vincent was buried there after a lavish £100,000 funeral procession where tempers flared.

Mr Osborn-Brooks and wife Maureen, 76, moved out after the burglary and their home was boarded up.

NO ACTION: Billy Jeeves 

Jeeves, who has lived at the caravan site, was arrested in north Kent days after the burglary on suspicion of two counts of burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance.

He was released under investigation for several months, but last month told he would face no further action due to insufficient evidence.

A Met Police spokesman said: "Following an extensive investigation – including forensic examination of the scene – there was insufficient evidence to support a charge of burglary."

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