Councils counting the cost of when travellers move in

WHAT A MESS Where the travellers parked up. Inset, after the clean-up
WHAT A MESS Where the travellers parked up. Inset, after the clean-up
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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THIS is the mess left behind by a group of travellers after spending two weeks in a lay-by.

Havant Borough Council officers were left to clear up the mess on behalf of Hampshire County Council, which is responsible for Havant Road, in Emsworth, where the travellers were camped out.

After the clean-up

After the clean-up

Industrial rubbish, rubble, and household waste was dumped at the site and it took six rangers and a local firm to clear it out at a cost of £700 which will be billed to the county council.

Court hearing and eviction notice costs have been put at £350 which will also be picked up by the taxpayer.

The area is a small cul-de-sac used by pedestrians and cyclists and links to an underpass beneath the A27.

The 12-strong group eventually left the site on Wednesday morning and moved onto playing fields at Bourne Community College, Southbourne, West Sussex.

Emsworth councillor Richard Galloway said: ‘When travellers stop illegally on sites the council’s hands are tied.

‘Councils can’t just take the law into their own hands and eject these people, they have to go through the due process of law which takes time, costs money and wastes resources which ultimately the rate payers have to pay for.

‘But the law allows them on these sites for as long as it takes to get them to move on and I don’t think the law is going to change any time soon.

‘The council does try and use barricades on sites to the best of their ability but unfortunately it does not always work.’

The group had spent more than a month playing cat and mouse games with Havant Borough Council.

They were originally on two separate sites, Bitterne Park, in Leigh Park and land off Barncroft Way, Bedhampton.

Clear up and eviction costs were then put at £1,000.

During their time at the Emsworth site one of the travellers was cautioned by police after his dog, a saluki lurcher, attacked a PCSO on patrol and ripped her coat.

West Sussex County Council issued a notice to leave the school by 10pm Wednesday under the Education Act.

The travellers ignored the notice and are using facilities at the onsite leisure centre.