Call for action as travellers set up camp on Hayling Island

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RESIDENTS are demanding action after a convoy of more than a dozen travellers descended upon Hayling Island.

Some thirteen caravans have pitched up illegally at the car park off Chichester Avenue.

The travellers arrived shortly after 10.40am this morning, prompting a response from police.

Officers from Havant Borough Council have already visited the group and served them with an order to leave.

However, residents living on the island fear that if the order is not complied with, the travellers could damage the local area.

Richard Coates, of Brights Lane, saw the group entering the site and has previously witnessed first hand the damage travellers can cause.

In an email to Havant Borough Council, he said: ‘While I am aware that travellers have been to Hayling previously, if they are permitted to stay with a ‘soft’ approach the situation could eventually end up as my family have previously encountered in Horton Berkshire.

‘The central building of the previous village we resided in was totally destroyed by Irish travellers and required 50 police officers, dogs and horses to clear them out.

‘Even now all public spaces in the parish are locked and barred to everyone.’

Speaking to The News, he added: ‘We know what’s going to happen if they stay here – they’re going to leave all their trash here.’

Havant Borough Council said the travellers had not caused any damage when gaining entry to the car park.

An official added that council officers had been on site to undertake a ‘needs assessment’.

A spokeswoman said: ‘A direction to leave under section 77/78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA) will now be served. This will expire at 4pm tomorrow.

‘In the meantime Havant Borough Council will work to get the first available court date allowable under the CJPOA with a view to a speedy recovery of the site.’

A spokesman for Hampshire police said they were ‘engaging’ with the travellers.