Travellers blamed as vandals 'run riot' in Coulsdon car park
Police are investigating allegations a group of travellers "ran riot" in a Coulsdon car park, ransacking dozens of vehicles and scattering motorists' belongings across the ground in broad daylight.
Commuters who returned to their cars in Lion Green Road car park after work on Wednesday found their doors had been prised open, windscreen wipers ripped off, paintwork scratched and interiors damaged.
The destruction, described by one irate driver as "total chaos", happened while travellers' were camped in the car park.
Some 14 caravans arrived at the car park at 8pm on Tuesday and remained until they were evicted by police and Croydon Council last night.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed it had received reports of 19 damaged cars on Wednesday and said the damage was believed to have been inflicted in the daytime.
A 36-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "I got to my car after work at about 5.30pm. Every single car in the car park had been totally ransacked. It was total chaos.
"My roof had been slashed and they had got inside and ripped buttons out, my wing mirror had been broken off. Windscreen wipers had been snapped off, people's possessions were all over the car park.
"It is despicable."
She estimated the damage to her car would cost her between £700 and £1,000.
She added: "Police spoke to the travellers and they denied knowing anything about. But it happened in broad daylight while they were camped in the car park - there is no way that they could not have seen it.
"It just seems ridiculous that they can come and go on a regular basis when the car park is supposed to be shut off."
Dumped rubbish - next to a sign prohibiting fly-tipping
Coulsdon West councillor David Osland said travellers camping in the car park had been a recurring problem for 20 years and that the group had forced open a locked gate to get in.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The damage is believed to have occurred throughout the day and was discovered and reported to police as commuters returned to their vehicles in the evening."
No arrests have been made.
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