A ROW has erupted after claims that rough-sleepers’ tents were removed from the former East Lancs Paper Mills site by council workers.

Homeless campaigners hit out after the camping equipment, which had been left there for some time, was pulled down on Monday.

Bury Homeless Project officials say one rough sleeper looked on in horror as town hall staff removed their tents, they claim without warning.

And sleeping bags and provisions were also apparently left strewn across the secluded site, when charity workers arrived later.

Project chairman Suzanne, who asked for her full name not to be used, said: “One of our rough sleepers witnessed Bury Council employees removing tents and camping equipment.

“But they threw all of the sleeping bags, blankets and food all over the grass.

“This camp was ‘home’ to a lady and two gentlemen. Now we have got to re-supply and find somewhere to keep them safe and warm.”

One online supporter, Paul Bradshaw, added: “The people camped there weren’t causing a problem and they kept it tidy. Bury Council you should be ashamed.

“And more importantly you should be held accountable for your actions.”

Project supporters had been urged to e-mail borough council chief executive Geoff Littler, questioning where a double-decker bus secured by the charity can be sited in Bury, to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

Suzanne added: “We need a location for our bus to prevent this from happening.

“Obviously our pleas to the council have not made any impact as they are simply ‘cleaning up’ rough sleepers.

“It’s strange that they left all the fly-tipping 200 yards away on the same land.”

She insisted that the local authority had been aware of the trio’s situation and the site had been kept tidy while they were living there.

Last night a council spokesman said: “No-one should have to sleep rough in Bury or across Greater Manchester.

“The ‘A Bed Every Night’ initiative provides a bed, warm welcome, and personal support to anyone who is sleeping rough or at imminent risk of sleeping rough.

“This initiative is part of an integrated system and one of a number of options available to people experiencing, or at risk of, rough sleeping in Bury and across Greater Manchester.

“Bury Homelessness Service and our rough sleeper outreach workers work in partnership with recognised partners to support all rough sleepers and homeless customers.

“This means no-one, including the people camping at the former East Lancs Paper Mill site, should need to sleep rough in our borough or across Greater Manchester any more.

“Now that we have been made aware of this situation we are giving this area our attention, looking into what has happened there and will be offering support to the people concerned.”