The 800 year old Wickham Horse Fair, which usually attracts thousands, had been cancelled for the second consecutive year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Signage had been placed on all main routes into the village of Wickham, Hants, but that didn't stop dozens of travellers bringing their horses for the annual event.
Roads into the village were said to have been completely blocked as police tried to disperse the crowds which had gathered in the square.
And the locals are furious with the ...
Wait. With the cops? What?
Tina O'Nion, who owns hair and nail salon Wispers in the village square, said the 'frustrating' road closures had stopped customers turning up.
The 46 year old said: "The fair has been on for years and that's fine - I used to come down as a child.
"This is only our fourth week since reopening and as a business we have been shut for eight months out of 12.
"We had a notification that the fair was cancelled and that we could trade.
"My main issue is not with the travellers - I think it was a complete overreaction to close the roads leading to the square, and as a result we have lost our custom.
"I'm just so frustrated that here we are trying to get our business back on its feet and this was an inconvenience we did not need."
Don't blame the police for this! They are guilty only of being naive enough to think that a 'community' that makes a point of ignoring laws they don't feel apply to them would take the slightest bit of notice.
"There must be about 150 travellers in the square now. They're not causing any harm, really, but there could have been some more planning on this."
There was 'planning', but clearly, it wasn't adhered to. So how exactly are they 'not causing harm'?
Laura Haste is the manager of The Square Cow pub, which directly faces the crowds of travellers, kettled into an area just off the square.
The mother of three said: "We closed yesterday tea time. Once we realised the cancellation was going to be ignored, we decided to close for the day.
"We were in the midst of a national lockdown last year when the event wasn't on, but this year it was always going to be harder to stop people from coming.
"Some of the gypsies were in the pub last night, and they were pleasant enough.
"But it has affected trade in the square today. We have been really busy all this week before today - things were just starting to get going again.
"I think it was always inevitable that it was going to happen today, because they missed it last year and it's a tradition that has gone back centuries.
"We will open up tomorrow. I think it will be by then - we have a busy weekend ahead of us."
The fatalism of these people is astounding.
This wasn't a natutal disaster like a flood or bad weather - it was a 'community' that decided the laws that had inconvenienced everyone else, but which they had put up with for the greater good (no matter how misguided those laws might be) didn't apply to them.
And the police, who must know in their hearts that their instructions would be ignored, tried to deal with it within the constraints the law allows them. And they are the target of the ire of the local businesses.H/T: ir.jackson via email