POLICE have defended their decision not to remove travellers from a village recreation ground.
Sussex Police said it was the responsibility of the landowner, Bosham Parish Council, to go through the court process to remove them.
As reported, 13 caravans have moved on Bosham Recreation Ground, off Walton Lane. The group arrived on Monday afternoon after being threatened with a Section 61 order at Palmers Road car park in Emsworth.
Police decided to use this as the area is a busy public place and next to a protected nature reserve.
But police say they can only use this power in situations of serious criminality or public disorder.
Sgt Alan Fenn said: ‘We appreciate how frustrating it may be to local people and the landowners but travellers cannot simply be evicted by the police. Trespass on land by itself is not a criminal offence and the prevention of trespass – and the removal of those who do – are the responsibilities of the landowner. It is the role of the police to preserve the peace and prevent crime and we will undertake this role robustly.
‘If anyone has any information in relation to crimes being committed then we would ask them to call police on 101 to enable us to take the appropriate action.’
The recreation ground is the home of Bosham FC.