Fareham council leader Sean Woodward speaks out about traveller 'invasions' and welcomes Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

A council leader has spoken out against traveller 'invasions' on public open spaces.

By Toby Paine
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 1:59 pm

Sean Woodward, executive leader of Fareham Borough Council has shown support to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill calling it a ‘sensible law’ for criminalising trespass of public open spaces.

‘If travellers did genuinely pitch up for a couple of days, leave the site clean and tidy when they left there would probably be far less of an issue,’ he said.

‘We’ve had many invasions or whatever you want to call it - it’s called an unauthorised encampment.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Travellers at the Portchester Precinct car park last month

‘The fact is that the great majority of them and I can't say every single one but I can say every single one that I can think of, has not only on occasion broken in so that if there are barriers they’ve angle grinded through.

‘Once they’re on the land they’ve turned it into a skip town with cars, motorcycles, they’ve dumped massive amounts of waste and I include human waste in that as well.

‘That means council workers have to go in in full-body protection and clear up human excrement. Why should they have to do that? The cost of course can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

‘There are traveller places around the country, sometimes these people use them, sometimes they don’t. Within our local plan, we have gypsy pitches and there are some in Fareham.

‘It’s long overdue to make this change, I campaigned for decades to make this happen.’

The bill is currently in the final stages of being enacted into UK law, having passed the third reading in both the house of commons and lords.

The legislation could create a new offence in England and Wales for people who trespass on land with a vehicle in which they reside after being asked to leave.

Someone guilty of this offence could see a prison term not exceeding three months or a £2,500 fine.