South Shields caravan owner left in shock after arrest nightmare

A caravan owner has spoken out about his frightening ordeal after being arrested.

By Sue Kirby
Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 05:00
Lizard Lane Caravan Park resident Geoff Lynch angry over new owners site fees.

On Saturday, the Gazette reported how Geoff Lynch, who lives on the Lizard Lane Caravan Park in Mardsen, feared he may have to leave his mobile home because new site owners want fees paid up front.

Now Geoff says he was left stunned when police officers turned up at his door on Tuesday.

He said a false allegation had been made to Northumbria Police that he had been running around the site with a weapon, threatening people.

After being cuffed and spending three hours in Southwick Police Station, Geoff was released without any futher action.

Geoff, 61, said: “I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what was going on.

“There were two police cars, they asked me to step out of the caravan and I was cuffed and put in the back of the car.

“I was told someone had called the police saying I was running around the park with a pair of shears, threatening people. I don’t even have a pair of shears.

“It was a frightening incident and although the police were excellent with me, and I know they were just doing their job, it wasn’t a very nice experience being locked up for three hours.”

The grandad-of-five, who has lived on the Lizard Lane Caravan Park for eight years, said police checked the CCTV footage and spoke to other residents, but there was no evidence of him causing any problems.

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A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At about 9.10am, February 12, police received a report of a man with a weapon at Lizard Lane Caravan Site, South Shields.

“Officers attended after a report a man was walking round with scissors threatening the public.

“A 61-year-old man was arrested and has since been released with no further action.”

Geoff, a pizza delivery driver who lives in a touring caravan on the site, said he is devastated about possibly having to leave the site, and saying goodbye to all the friends he has made, because he is unable to pay the £2,500 annual site fees upfront.

In the past, residents have been able to pay the fees in instalments, but new owners, Meridian Parks, have asked for the coming year’s fees to be paid in full before March 1.

Frank Maguire, who owns Meridian Parks, said they are investing around £600,000 in upgrading the Lizard Lane Caravan park.

He said: “We are having to get the money in for that. We really can’t afford pay monthly fees.

“We have a business to run and we need to get the money in.

“We are investing to improve and maintain the park.”