CHILDREN have been forced to play elsewhere after a recreation ground was turned into a camp site.
Thirteen caravans and several vehicles have moved on to Bosham Recreation Ground, off Walton Lane, in Bosham, West Sussex.
The travellers are believed to be the same group that moved on to Palmers Road car park in Emsworth town centre on Monday.
The group has kept one step ahead of the authorities as they have set up camps across the Havant and Emsworth area over the last month.
The travellers arrived on the recreation ground on Monday afternoon and it is understood they forced their way through a locked gate.
The playing fields are used by the local primary school and Bosham FC.
A children’s playground is nearby.
The land is owned by Bosham Parish Council.
Parish chairman John Dean said: ‘They have been issued with 24 hours notice to quit.
‘It will probably require a court order to complete the process.
‘The area is used by the school and the football club on a regular basis.
‘The gate was locked and I checked that at 10am.
‘By 3pm they had broken in.
‘One eyewitness said he saw people meddling with the lock.
‘The lock has disappeared.’
He said it could take up to four days to get a court order to evict the travellers.
‘We have not stopped working on this problem since they arrived,’ he added.
Officials were sent to the site to assess the travellers’ needs and check on their health.
This is standard procedure whenever a new camp is set up.
The parish council used an agency that is also used by West Sussex County Council to carry out this procedure.
A statement on the parish council’s website said it was hoped the encampment ‘does not spoil the summer holidays for residents’.
Cllr Dean added: ‘People are not happy – from the point of view of the recreation ground and the security.’
Bob Probee, president of the football club, said no matches were scheduled until September.
He added: ‘The club pavilion is there.
‘If they are looking for toilet facilities, the pavilion is there although it is locked up.
‘The pitch is the primary concern. When I went down yesterday there were a couple of cars and obviously track marks across the ground.’
As reported, the same group stayed in Emsworth town centre for a couple of hours after police threatened with eviction under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
This was because the area was a busy public place and next to a protected nature reserve that is home to rare water voles.
But police have not exercised this power at Bosham.
Sussex Police said officers had visited the site. A spokeswoman said the force was working with the parish council to evict the travellers.