Stand-off at D-Day Story in Portsmouth as travellers try to enter Southsea car park
A STAND-OFF ensued at the entrance to the D-Day Story car park in Southsea as travellers were denied access.
Police were called to the seafront museum car park yesterday afternoon after two vehicles towing caravans attempted to enter the site.
However, they were refused admittance by car park attendants.
Cosham resident, Mike English, said he was stuck in the car park for about 20 minutes while the incident took place.
The 78-year-old said: ‘I only used the car park for a short time but when I came to get out there were about three or four cars waiting to get out as well. We just had to sit there waiting while there was a lot of talking and arm waving going on.
‘A man in a red jacket, I think a security guard, very bravely said he wasn’t going to move so the vehicles couldn’t get in.
‘He stood there the whole time. I think he must have been there more than half an hour.
‘Eventually they let us out by going round near Southsea Castle.’
In the evening a convoy of caravans and vehicles were spotted on the field behind Clarence Pier, off Pembroke Road.
It was one of the open spaces Portsmouth City Council had recently bordered with boulders in an attempt to prevent unauthorised encampments.
A spokesman at the council said: ‘We can confirm that Portsmouth City Council was aware of vehicles trying to access the D-Day carpark and were prevented in doing so. The police were in attendance and moved them on from obstructing the highway. They then gained access to Pembroke Gardens by removing rocks that were placed there to fortify the land.
‘Therefore, Portsmouth City Council is currently following in usual procedures for an unauthorised encampment accessing its land. The police will review the powers they have in this matter and aware of how the U/E obtained access onto the land.’
A spokeswoman for Hampshire police added: ‘We were called shortly after 2.50pm on Wednesday 26 May to a report that two vehicles towing caravans were attempting to gain entry to the car park at the D-Day Story on Clarence Esplanade.
‘Officers attended and engaged with the occupants of the vehicles, who then moved away from the car park.
‘In regards to the group behind Clarence Pier, we are aware of an unauthorised encampment on the green next to Pembroke Road and have been liaising with the local authority.’