Reported by The Courier – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

A Fife Traveller who has been “self-isolating” at a friend’s house as a precaution against coronavirus was shocked to discover that his caravan had been broken into, ransacked and daubed with Nazi graffiti.

James O’Connor has had a caravan at Auchtermuchty Common, to the north of the town, for 20 years and grazes horses there.

On Friday when he went to the Common to feed his animals, he discovered that a window had been forced open, his belongings trashed and most shockingly, his walls and cupboards had been daubed with slogans like ‘Sieg Heil’, ‘Heil Hitler’ and swastikas.

Now the 72-year-old, who believes he has been persecuted in the past because of his traditional heritage, hopes the community will help him identify whoever was responsible.

He told The Courier: “Someone appears to have broken in on Wednesday or Thursday night and done the graffiti. It’s Nazi stuff.

“There was also a large bottle of Morgan Spiced rum smashed up in the caravan, which I’ve been renovating, and turned it all upside down.

“There’s also pictures of ‘willies and balls’ sprayed on the doors – so I think it’s kids, teenagers. Kids in ‘Muchty use the Common as a drinking den.

“But it’s the Nazi stuff. They might not understand what that really means to Travelling people – the numbers who were murdered in the war.”

Bristol-born Mr O’Connor, whose Irish-Scots-English Traveller heritage goes back generations, said he made use of his legal right to graze his horses on the Common, which is owned by the Macduff Trust.
The trust maintains the Common and Mr O’Connor is now the official conservation grazier.

He has lived largely in harmony with the community, and said things have improved greatly from a “get the tink off the Common” mind-set previously held by a minority.

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