Zach wraps up his blog from Dale Farm

Echo: Zach Scott - chronicled travellers' lives Buy this photo Zach Scott - chronicled travellers' lives

A CONTROVERSIAL human rights activist who spent months living with travellers at Dale Farm has left.

Zach Scott, 26, a human rights volunteer for the Washington-based Advocacy Project, chronicled his 12-week stay with on an internet blog.

This described alleged discrimination in the village shop and how Crays Hill residents believe they will never be evicted.

Mr Scott claimed there was a strong community at Dale Farm, with nightly Catholic prayer meetings, called Rosaries, and parties most weekends, often connected to weddings or christenings.

The American student, who has now returned home to the United States, even joined a convoy of 15 caravans to an antiques fair at Newark, Nottinghamshire.

He wrote in the blog: "Many trade in antique furniture. They are price savvy and extremely knowledgeable.

"What they lack in formal education, they more than make up for in business acumen."

He said many prospective customers looked aghast at the high cost of their antiques, but would return to begrudgingly hand over the money.

He added: "It seemed to me the travellers were acting as reasonable businessmen."

The antiques fair convoy was led by Crays Hill spokesman and prominent traveller Richard Sheridan, who Mr Scott described as his "personal benefactor".

The American also described a visit to Hemmings Store, London Road, Crays Hill, with three young men, when they were allegedly asked to go in one at a time.

He wrote: "A short, pear-shaped man grabbed my shoulder and stated bluntly, wait outside'. You heard the woman."

He added when the woman realised he was not a traveller her attitude "softened".

Mr Scott wrote "You'll have to forgive me. I just assumed that you were one of them', she said, spitting out the last word as if it was a sharp piece of glass cutting the inside of her mouth.

"You can never be too careful with those Pikey children."

The shop has been shown the blog and chose not to comment, other than to say unaccompanied traveller children have to go in one at a time because of previous problems.

He also told of the travellers' joy, after they learnt through the Echo the council would not evict them in July.

He said: "Now this hurdle has been crossed, people living at Dale Farm sincerely believe that they will remain here indefinitely."

Baron hits back at parting shot

US STUDENT Zach Scott launched a stinging parting shot at Billericay MP John Baron.

Mr Scott claimed the Tory MP was a hypocrite for campaigning to remove travellers from the green belt site, despite living in a house built on former green belt land, in Bramble Tye, Noak Bridge.

The civil rights activist made the claim in a note sent to the Echo, just before he returned to America.

He wrote: "You currently reside in an opulent home built on what was previously green belt."

Mr Scott also accused Mr Baron of not representing any travellers.

He said: "You portray yourself as an MP working for your entire constituency. Your past actions against travellers prove otherwise.

"To be a real leader, Mr Baron, you must learn to stand with the people, not above them. The public includes all members of the constituency, even travellers." Mr Baron dismissed the attack as being from "another interfering outsider".

He said: "The difference is there was planning permission in place before Noak Bridge was built."

Mr Scott, a human rights volunteer for the Washington-based Advocacy Project, arrived at the site in May.

He left to finish a masters degree in eastern European studies at George Town Washington.

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