Five caravans pitched up in the car park next to King George V Playing Fields in Cosham on Monday, with travellers telling The News they plan to stay ‘another two or three days’ but will ‘see how things go’.
The nomads confirmed they were from Cherbourg in the northern French department of Manche – meaning ‘the sleeve’, which is also the French name for the English Channel.
It is on the northern tip of the peninsula almost due south from Portsmouth. There are regular ferry crossings between the two destinations.
All the caravans had French number plates but one of the cars with the entourage had a German registration number.
The travellers appear to be making themselves at home in Portsmouth, with one lady spotted putting items into a burning makeshift metal bin.
Travellers told The News yesterday they would be leaving the car park today but one of the group, Adol Jordan, said: ‘We’ve been here a couple of days but are planning on staying another two or three days but we’ll see.
‘We’re here on holiday from France. We don’t know where we will go next, maybe London. We don’t know how long we will stay (in the UK) but the weather is not very nice.
‘Police and the council have spoken with us so we’ll see what happens next.’
He added: ‘We have houses back in France but we live our lives not knowing what we are doing each day and where we are going.’
Residents told The News they had not seen travellers in the car park before. ‘I know everyone was kicking off about it but I was surprised to only find five caravans when I got here,’ one person said. ‘I was expecting about 20 after what I heard. As long as they clear up after themselves I haven’t got a problem with them.’
A police spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of the unauthorised encampment and police have attended the site with Portsmouth City Council.’