POLICE have defended not taking action against travellers in Gosport.
It comes as the borough council has spent thousands of pounds clearing up after the group and on officer time in getting them removed.
The longer it takes for us to move the travellers, the more it costs the tax payerCouncillor Mark Hook
The travellers moved to Alver Valley Country Park on Saturday from two different sites in the town and are yet to be issued with a notice to vacate the area.
As previously reported in The News, council leader Mark Hook said he was ‘disappointed and disgusted’ at the police’s failure to issue a Section 61 notice to force them to move on.
He said: ‘We have asked the police to use their powers to move them on and so far they have failed to do so.’
But Hampshire Constabulary said the criteria of a Section 61 has not been met.
Inspector Marcus Cator said: ‘We have regular patrols in the area and the group have been asked to leave.
‘We are monitoring the situation and a Section 61 notice could be enforced if unreasonable levels of nuisance, criminal damage, or environmental health are reported to us.’
He added the council has a separate legal process it can pursue to move the group.
Cllr Hook said the longer the travellers stay in the town, the more it costs.
‘The longer it takes for us to move the travellers, the more it costs the taxpayer,’ he said.
‘Situations like this normally run into the thousands.’
The travellers arrived in Gosport on Thursday, parking up at Little Anglesey Road. A separate group were next to the leisure centre, off Forest Way, on Friday.
But overnight on Saturday they moved to the Alver Valley Country Park, at the entrance off Rowner Road.
Cllr Hook added: ‘At the moment, we have officers spending their time going around the town making sure that all out sites are secure.
‘We are sending officers to make sure gates have not been tampered with or broken.’