FAREHAM Town Football Club will have to foot the bill to remove a group of travellers from council-owned land.
The travellers turned up on the site in Palmerston Drive on Saturday, after police allegedly ordered staff from the council to allow the group access to the playing fields so they could turn around.
The leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward criticised the police for their actions after the group then settled on the fields at Cams Alders.
The land is owned by the council but is leased out to the football club, meaning they will have to pay bailiffs to remove them, and cover any clean-up costs.
Nicholas Ralls, chairman of the club, said: ‘The club is short of funds as it is. It’s disappointing because it’s a community club.
‘We would rather the money went to the youth of the area than to have to deal with this situation.’
Meanwhile Cllr Woodward said he is going to formally complain to the police.
Cllr Woodward, said: ‘I have been informed it was a direct instruction from the police.
‘We shouldn’t be in this situation.
‘This cost is now going to fall on the football club to get them removed. We will help them in any way we can.
‘I’m absolutely at the end of my tether with these people.
‘This is six invasions we have had of the same people in the borough over the last few weeks.’
Yesterday, police told The News council officers were only ‘requested’ to open the gates. Today, they wouldn’t answer any further questions on the incident.
In a statement Fareham District Acting Chief Inspector Dave Ockleford said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary continues to work closely alongside Fareham Borough Council to resolve this situation safely and peacefully. Police have increased patrols in the area to monitor the situation several times each day and provide public reassurance.
‘We’d like to thank council officials for their assistance in challenging circumstances.
‘This group of travellers is not causing any problems that justify the use of police powers at this time.
‘These will be kept under review each day by assessing the impact on the community.’