TRAVELLERS who have set up camp in a Renfrewshire village have insisted they mean no harm.

A number of residents have complained after several camper vans were parked on a grassy area behind the India of Inchinnan building in Greenock Road.

However, when the Gazette visited the Inchinnan site, the travellers insisted they are simply trying to preserve a long-standing way of life.

John Stewart, 23, said: “We have just stopped for a few days. There was nowhere else to go.

“We keep ourselves to ourselves. We mean no harm to anyone but people in the Erskine area just seem to hate travellers.

“I have been doing this since I was born, we’re just trying to keep up a family tradition.

“We promise to keep the area clean and tidy and we’ll be on our way in a few days.”

Several residents have taken to social media to complain about the travellers’ arrival.

Back in January, there were complaints about rubbish left by travellers who stayed for five days at Erskine Sports Centre.

Councillor Jim Harte, who represents Erskine and Inchinnan, said: “Travellers have a way of life which is to be respected but, at the same time, they must respect the community they are in.

“They should make sure they clean up after themselves, the way you would expect any resident to do.

“I have no issue with them being there as long as they don’t break the law, keep the place tidy and don’t cause any hassle with the neighbours.”

Councillor Iain Nicolson, who also represents Erskine and Inchinnan, added: “I have asked for council officers from the housing department to engage with them to establish how long they are going to be there for.

“We have specialist people trained to speak to travellers and, hopefully, we can try to hurry them along.

“I know businesses are quite concerned about the impact it may have.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: "The Council has been informed that an unauthorised encampment/transit site has been set up on private land in Renfrewshire. 

"Officers have visited the site on two occasions and have been advised that the land owners concerned are undertaking legal action to have the travellers removed."