We had just successfully negotiated with Esso to buy the disused petrol station next door to our garage, Vauxhall had been on our case to expand or to look for another agency for ages and we thought this would pacify them for a while, I must point out that we had no intention of expanding or taking on more staff and our zone manager was a half-wit, My Boss had refused to attend any more meetings with him and at the last one he’d thrown his keys on the table and told him to lock up when he’d finished yapping, I was getting to feel the same as if he’d have got his calculator out one more time to tell me how to sell cars he would have been walking funny for the rest of his life.

The Esso Station had been boarded up and each of the entrance/exits had 3 girders concreted in to deny access to anyone except the Gypsies who I had just seen drive across the pavement and were setting up camp there.

I was on my own at the garage that day and I watched in horror as Transit Van after Pick Up after Caravan drove across the pavement, within minutes the petrol station forecourt was full, I rang the Police but as usual they were as much use as a chocolate fireguard and refused to come they said that it was a civil matter and they could only attend if there was a “breach of the peace”.

I marched next door and asked to speak to their “leader” I politely asked him to get his clan together and move on, he laughed at me and said “There’s nothing you can do we will leave when we want to” and he was right there was nothing we could do, as we hadn’t signed the contract yet it was actually Esso’s problem, their Barristers served all sorts of notices to the courts to try and evict them, it must have cost them Thousands of pounds but nothing they did seemed to work, it was going to be a long drawn out and very expensive process.

I was getting madder and madder as the days went by, it was costing us a fortune things were disappearing from our used car stock, wheel trims, alloys, batteries, radios, all our security lighting, and “Dummy” CCTV Cameras had been smashed, our heating had stopped working and when i investigated, our newly filled 250-gallon tank of Red diesel heating fuel was empty and also the copper pipe which delivered the fuel from the tank to the burner had gone.

It was that week that our halfwit zone manager had chosen to pay us a visit and he was giving me a particularly hard time when my phone started ringing, I knew if it wasn’t answered within 5 rings he would start on about that too so I picked it up, “Can I speak to Raymond O Shaunessy please”, said the guy with the Irish Accent, “I’m sorry Sir there’s no one here of that name”, I said politely, “I know he’s at the Gypsy Camp next door” the caller replied, I switched to Psycho mode “NO YOU CAN’T SPEAK TO HIM, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO IS GO AND FUCK YOURSELF !” , I shouted down the phone, unperturbed the caller said “OK, well would you give him a message, tell him that me and the rest of the lads will be there tomorrow, Before I slammed the phone down and then made sure it was disconnected with about another 5 equally hard slams I shouted “Over my Dead Body”

I could tell by our Zonies face that he was thinking that  my telephone manner left a lot to be desired, and he was no doubt making a mental note to book me on a “Telephone Etiquette” Refresher Course, the call couldn’t have come at a worse time and my reaction was fuelled by years of crossing swords with the Gypsies in the motor trade but now I had time to think I was sure that I had detected a slight alteration of the caller’s accent and that I had heard people sniggering like children in the background, I’d been the victim of a practical joke, it was Mal from the garage up the road making a wind up call, and I had fallen for it hook line and sinker.

Still smarting from my meeting I went to get some fresh air, our garage was at the bottom of a steep hill, I heard the sound of wheels locking up and turned my head to see a dog from the Gypsy camp had run into the road and I watched in horror as it disappeared underneath a lorry, I won’t go into too much detail but it was a sight that still haunts me to this day, I was sickened I love dogs, but Gypsies not so much,  they just left the dog and we had to remove its corpse and clean the road, this was the last straw for me it was now “Breach of the peace time”

I marched to the leader’s caravan and banged on his door, without giving him a chance to speak I shouted at him “remember when you said you would leave when you wanted? Well I’ve got a news flash for you, you will leave when I “F##### say you will, I have a JCB coming at 9.00am tomorrow morning, I’m going to dig a trench around the place, you won’t be getting on or off this place anytime soon, and I will let you go when I feel like it”

I was pretty mad when I confronted him and although it was a bluff at the time, I think their leader knew that now it was War, it may just have been a coincidence but by 9.00am the next morning they had all upped and gone.

The Esso station was a disgusting mess, my Boss and I wandered next door to examine the extent of the mess and damage they had left in their wake, as we approached the station we were met by an overwhelming stench, behind the building there was a pile of “waste”, my Boss had covered his face with his jacket and I had my hands clasped over mine, My Boss shouted to me that he had never seen so much “Dog Shit” in his life, Sarcastically I replied, “Yeah Eric, you can say what you like about those Gypsies but they’re fantastic animal trainers,  they’ve taught all their “dogs” to wipe their arses on bread wrappers and newspapers.

That was my way of breaking it to him that it was actually Human waste!

They had also left 3 live dogs locked up in a scrap car, we paid the kennel and vets bills for them until new caring homes were found for them.