TRAVELLERS have set up camp in the car park of a bankrupt DIY store for the second time in seven months.
The six caravans and various other vehicles arrived at the former Focus DIY store in Speedfields Park off Newgate Lane in Fareham on Wednesday.
The car park has been used by travellers before – several caravans stopped there last September after the funeral of a well-known member of the traveller community, Ted Smith.
Paul Mcleish, a site manager on Speedfields Park, said: ‘They seem to keep themselves to themselves but it does give us concerns and we are watching to see if there’s anything untoward going on.
‘It’s a ridiculous situation – they don’t need to go through the gate, they just drive across the verge by the bus stop.
‘The problem though is the mess they leave behind. We had them there last year, and they left a real mess. I can see the mess they’re starting to make already.
‘It’s the responsibility of whoever owns the land there to clean it up, but in the meantime it’s the rest of the businesses around here that suffer.’
Because trespass is a civil offence it is up to the landowner to take action to remove the travellers.
If the travellers do not move on of their own accord, the landowner will have to apply to the courts for a hearing date.
The court may then agree to an eviction notice. If the travellers remain on site after that date, bailiffs can be sent in.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘Obviously this isn’t as easy for us to deal with as when they’re on council land because this is private property. We have been in touch with the landowners and we will give all the advice we can, but it is down to them to move them on.
‘If we get to this time next week and they don’t have a court date, and they haven’t moved on, we will take it further.
‘Our next step would be to threaten the landowner with prosecution for running an illegal campsite.’
The Focus chain went into administration last May, closing 120 stores by mid-July. The Fareham store has been empty since then and is being marketed for new tenants.
Lambert Smith Hampton is acting as the agents for the property. No-one was available to comment.