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Landowner: Let me build or I’ll give field to gypsies

Green space: The field Wayne Rushton wants to build on PICTURE: SWNS

A LANDOWNER threatened to move gypsies on to a field opposite homes unless residents supported his bid to build housing on it.

Wayne Rushton issued the warning in a letter to all 32 households in a quiet village cul-de-sac.

He also promised each resident £250 if they told the council they backed the plan, but later withdrew the offer in case it was ‘misconstrued’ as a bribe.

In the letter, he said the one-acre site would be ‘left to grow into waste land’ and he and business partner David Haynes would ‘invite some of our gypsy friends’ to live there. He said the gypsies could stay ‘as long as they wish’.

One recipient said: ‘That was the first contact we’ve had with these people. When you have written evidence of a threat and blackmail and bribery all at once, it seems crackers.’

Mr Rushton said he was drunk when he wrote the letter and was sorry he had sent it to residents in Pinel Close, Broughton Astley, Leicestershire.

The 54-year-old, from Cannock in Staffordshire, said: ‘How it all started was a councillor telling us not to bother applying for planning permission. He said they would never allow it. It really put my back up.’

Harborough council said: ‘We have written to the landowner, stating that the letter is highly inappropriate.’