Man is cautioned by police after dog attack at Emsworth travellers’ camp

ILLEGAL ENCAMPMENT Travellers parked on part of the old Havant Road near Emsworth. Picture: (122430-284)
ILLEGAL ENCAMPMENT Travellers parked on part of the old Havant Road near Emsworth. Picture: (122430-284)
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A TRAVELLER was arrested after his dog attacked a police community support officer.

The woman, who was out on patrols, was attacked by a Saluki Lurcher at the encampment off Havant Road, Emsworth.

The male dog was removed by police officers under the Dangerous Dog Act and a 45-year-old man, of no fixed address, was arrested.

He was questioned in custody and later received a caution.

The woman was bitten on the back of her coat but was not injured.

The dog has been taken away by animal welfare officers from Havant Borough Council and has been put in kennels for the time being.

Police say they have increased patrols in the area after reports of nuisance from dogs, but have not heard of any other attacks.

Twelve caravans moved on to the site last Thursday and have already been warned by officers about obstructing a cycle path.

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

Police have not used powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to evict the travellers.

They say they will consider using the powers where there is significant nuisance or criminal behaviour, unacceptable levels of damage to land or property, or danger to the travellers from the chosen site, such as environmental health factors.

But officers said they were not able to employ these powers as the site is a public highway, which is exempt in the act.

Police said they was also unable to move the travellers on under Section 62 of the act. This is because there are no transit sites in Hampshire to direct the travellers to.

The site is owned by Hampshire County Council. Havant Borough Council, on its behalf, is seeking a court date to send in bailiffs to remove the travellers.

People in Emsworth said the travellers’ camp was creating a sense of unease.

Emsworth councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray said: ‘It’s not only an illegal encampment, it’s an obstruction of a cycleway. The path is used by schoolchildren and parents if they are walking through the underpass.

‘It’s a very intimidating situation for people who use that underpass.

‘It’s not like they are tucked away – they are on a main thoroughfare.’

The travellers are the same group who had been staying on land off Barncroft Way, Bedhampton, last week.