Gypsies Next Door starring glamour model Danielle Mason shows horse living in a garage and poo smeared on walls

MOST people use their garage to store cars, garden appliances or boxes of belongings – but Johnny, who is from the travelling community, has a horse living in his.

The traveller made the make-shift stable after refusing to leave his beloved pet behind when his family moved from their mobile home into their first ever house.

Standing on hay inside the garage, just feet away from the main road, the horse is causing quite a stir among Johnny's new neighbours in Essex – and even his wife, Andrea, thinks he's mad.

She tells him: "These people are probably not gonna be happy with this, John. You look down the street, how many people have got their horse in the garage? No-one has, have they?"

The couple and their three kids feature in the new Channel 5 programme The Gypsies Next Door, which also stars glamour model Danielle Mason and her traveller ex-husband, Tony.

The show looks at the occasional conflict between so-called gorgers – non-travellers – and travellers across the UK, with one frustrated local claiming there's been an 'invasion' in his area.

While one traveller group leaves human poo smeared on surfaces and litter scattered everywhere after being evicted from an illegal site, another family explains why they use bushes as a loo.Traveller mum Carol says she wouldn't use a toilet, even if she had one in her caravan.

"In a house you're in different sections – well in that you've got to put all your blankets and your bedding and that in there," she explains, gesturing towards her home.

Poo smeared on the walls in protest

But she insists her family are respectful and don't deserve the abuse they get from the public – which includes sick comments like 'you're scum' and 'burn the caravans'.

"That really upsets me because obviously when you've got kids in there you want to keep them safe… you've got to keep awake to make sure the caravan don't get burned," she says.

The documentary series, which airs for the first time tonight, follows several travellers as they struggle to co-exist with settled communities across the country.

Johnny and Andrea are filmed as they prepare to move out of their chalet home and into a residential street to give their young children the best education possible – so they can have WiFi to do their homework.

'I'm up all night to make sure the caravan doesn't get torched'

Andrea, who is from a non-traveller community, explains how they haven't been able to access broadband or even get pizza delivered to their chalet for the past five years.

She also says they have to drive seven miles a day to get their post.

"It makes you feel like a second-class citizen really," she says.

The family eventually make the big move into a house, but Johnny has one condition – his horse comes too."John, cos he's a lunatic, he thinks that we can have the horse in the garage," Andrea says.

Determined to bring his animal with him, Johnny is filmed walking it down the street.

A horse in the garage

As he does, a police car slows down beside him. The officer says through the window, "You rescued her or something?", then remarks: "Don't see many horses getting walked around here."

Despite Andrea's concerns about what first impressions the horse will give their new neighbours, people in the street seem fascinated by the creature living in the garage.

One comments that they'd rather live near the horse than a 'yappy dog', while another even turns up at the house with a brush, offering to muck out its new home.

The programme also sees Johnny and Andrea's eldest son celebrate his 11th birthday.

For his birthday present, he gets a car. Sitting behind the steering wheel, the youngster tells producers that he's happy with the vehicle, which is the 'first one I've had'.

Heaps of human poo left behind

More than 100 miles away, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, a group of traveller caravans have recently arrived in the local leisure centre's car park.

Resident Arthur, who wants to stop recurring traveller encampments in the area, describes the situation as 'a bit like a siege' and claims a pal even got beaten up by someone from the camp.

Visiting the 'wrecked' site after the travellers are evicted, he observes the piles of litter, matted carpets and heaps of human faeces left by those who had been living there.

He says he'd be ashamed if he himself had left such horrific conditions behind, adding: "We've got to pay for this – it's going to come out of my pocket as a resident."

But after visiting Carol, whose family's caravan is temporarily parked up on the roadside 50 miles away, Arthur realises his view of the traveller lifestyle may be mistaken.

Describing his town's experience of travellers, he tells the mum that it's always the same behaviour – lots of rubbish and human waste, ' sometimes smudged all over the place'.

Carol agrees with him that this is disgusting. She explains that her family wouldn't go to the toilet 'all over the land' and that they are respectful of other people.

Later, after leaving the scene, Arthur admits: "They're so far removed from the picture I have in my head at the moment of what a traveller is."

The show also follows dad-of-five Tony, who was previously married to model Danielle – the sister of EastEnders star Jessie Wallace – and has two children with her.

He is now living alone on an authorised traveller site in Surrey.

Danielle explains: "The reason me and Tony haven't worked is because he's a traveller and I'm a non-traveller. He tries to fit in my world but I don't fit in his world."

In the programme, Tony prepares to move to a new plot of land, owned by a millionaire businessman pal, where he hopes to live in a new, bigger chalet.

But on the day of the move, he arrives to find a High Court notice has been put up.

He believes a neighbour has complained about him being a traveller – but the council insists the injunction was to prevent the development of the land as an unauthorised caravan site.

Tony later reluctantly destroys his old chalet so he has somewhere to put his new one.

Afterwards, he is comforted by his young niece Megan – who has some wise words to say about the conflict between the traveller and non-traveller communities.

She says: "Other people and gypsies they're actually kind of equal because they're the same persons but they've just got different blood.
"We're all the same in this world."

  • The Gypsies Next Door airs on Channel 5, Thursdays at 9pm

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