More woe as illegal camps pop up again
A GROUP of travellers set up an illegal camp on land just off the B4100 in Gaydon this week.
As reported in last week’s Herald front page story, there has been a spate of problems with travellers occupying sports clubs, including Alcester Rugby Club and Warwick’s Central Ajax Football Club.
Alcester Rugby Club members described finding a scene of devastation after the travellers were eventually evicted on Friday, 2nd July. Pitches, doorways and the inside of a portacabin left covered in human and dog excrement, rubbish was strewn everywhere, fires started on the patio, windows broken and furniture smashed during the week-long occupation.
The club said the damage would cost thousands to repair, on top of the £5,000 cost legal fees already incurred. A fundraiser on the Gofundme website has so far raised £5,455.
It is believed that when the travellers were evicted, they went on to the Ajax grounds but were evicted from there on 6th July. Ajax have also appealed for donations to help cover clean-up costs.
The Gaydon land was occupied on 7th July.
A spokesperson from Warwickshire County Council, which owns the Gaydon land, told the Herald: “We were aware of an unauthorised encampment on land off the B4100 in Gaydon. A section 78 notice has received court authorisation and was served on the encampment, requiring them to leave the area by 9am on 14th July. We can confirm that the encampment has now vacated the location.”
Once the site had been vacated a clean-up had commenced as the Herald went to press, with the county council confirming that Stratford District Council was co-ordinating the operation. A spokesperson was unable to confirm who would be footing the bill, or how much it would be.
Warwickshire Police would not confirm if any prosecutions were being brought over the damage to the sites. A spokesperson would only say: “In terms of prosecuting people for offences where we identify offences and offenders, we will take action.”
Instead they offered advice to landowners on what to do if their land is illegally occupied.
In the first instance, landowners are told to report the trespass by calling 101. The police promise to visit the encampment within 24 hours to engage with trespassers and consult with the landowner over the proposed course of action. There are a number of options: from negotiated stay of no more than 28 days, legal action to remove the trespassers or police powers that mean a swift eviction is brought about.