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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 17:23 GMT
Award for gypsy leader
Mr Codona receiving his certificate
Mr Codona says he has "great hope" in the council
A gypsy has been awarded a certificate of good citizenship - by the council fighting to evict him.

Cliff Codona has put the certificate from Mid Beds District Council on display in his caravan - which the council has been trying to force him to move.

The council says that such certificates are given to anyone who is nominated for the Richard Holden award, named after the council's chairman.

But Mr Codona said he hoped the certificate represented a change in attitude.

Planning permission

"I just can't believe this after what I've been through over the last few years with the constant battle with Mid Beds council," he said.

"All of a sudden they've given me great hope in them now, thinking that they've recognised me for the work I'm doing in the community."

Mr Codona is among 28 travelling families who bought the Woodside caravan site at Hatch in 1997.

But the council has said the families do not have planning permission to live on the land all year round and has taken its case to the High Court.

Bailiffs were sent to evict the last remaining families last November - but had to abandon their attempts as another High Court action was pending.

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