A GROUP of travellers camped out on Portsmouth’s park-and-ride were forced to leave yesterday evening.
Twenty-five people with nine vehicles were told they had to leave or face prosecution and they evacuated the site at around 5pm after police officers showed up.
The group of travellers arrived at the Tipner site off the M275 on Sunday at 8pm, before the gates were due to be shut for the evening.
The passenger waiting room was closed yesterday while the situation was sorted out as the council did not want it being used by people who weren’t customers.
Some car parking spaces had also been taken out of use because traveller vehicles blocked them up and they remained closed off until the group had been removed from the site.
But police say no damage has been done to the site, which opened as a park and ride in April this year.
Cllr Ken Ellcome, the cabinet member for traffic said: ‘It’s extremely disappointing.
‘The park-and-ride staff didn’t have the ability to keep them out as there were a lot of them.
‘The way the travellers were distributed themselves around the car park means park-and-ride customers were being put off.
‘There’s a lot going on this week with what the graduations, so it’s disappointing to have lost spaces.’
Michael Robinson, the council’s parking manager, said that extra security staff had been drafted in to ensure there weren’t any problems created before police turned up.
Buses ran as normal but some car parking spaces were blocked by traveller vehicles.
It comes after Havant Borough Council applied for an eviction notice when two caravans and three cars moved on to a green space, off Hobby Close, Wecock Farm.
Travellers moved there after being sent away from the Berewood housing development, off Maurepas Way, Waterlooville.
Last night police refused to give any information.
Traffic official says access can’t be restricted
PORTSMOUTH’S traffic official says little can be done to stop travellers getting onto the park and ride site again.
It comes despite calls that the city council should toughen up security at the Tipner site to prevent intruders getting in.
Cllr Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: ‘It’s one of those things that travellers will get in anyway, through cutting the gates or cutting padlocks.
‘There’s no real way of keeping them out whatever we do.
‘So I’m not sure what we can do.
‘If we want to run the park and ride properly we can’t legislate against people like this turning up unfortunately.’