West Sussex charity left with a £1,000 clean-up bill

CAMP Travellers at Oaklands
CAMP Travellers at Oaklands
Canoe Lake

Picture: Shaun Roster

Robbers target man on a bike at Canoe Lake

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A CHARITY that owns a playing field faces a £1,000 clear-up bill after travellers damaged turf and left behind human waste, rubble and rubbish.

An illegal encampment was evicted from Fishbourne Playing Fields last week, when the travellers made their way to Oaklands Park in Chichester.

But they were quickly removed by police so that Sunday’s Get Active festival could go ahead undisturbed.

The damage has delayed the opening of a new children’s play area in Fishbourne.

Jim Arnold, chairman of the Fishbourne Playing Fields Association, said: ‘The travellers left a huge mound of rubble in the field, as well as a caravan, and bags of rubbish. Police said they can’t help us clean up the land because it is a civil matter, so now we will have to spend a further £1,000 on top of the £2,000 we spent on getting them evicted.

‘We had also laid down new turf for the play area we were due to open, but that has been walked all over and rolled up, so we will have to delay the opening so we can repair the damage.’

Human faeces and toilet tissue was also left on the croquet pitch at the playing fields after the travellers had settled there for seven days.

Chairman of Fishbourne Parish Council Geoff Hand, said: ‘Damage was done to the security fencing and to the new turf around the play area which was due to be opened on September 20. Unfortunately, it will now have to be delayed for at least a fortnight while repairs are undertaken. This is another additional cost the project will have to bear. We are very sorry for the young people who have been patiently waiting to use the new equipment and now have a further wait because of this mindless behaviour.’

The travellers moved on Friday on to Oaklands Park, which is owned by Chichester District Council, but the police managed to remove them the same evening under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.