TRAVELLERS have been quickly moved on from unauthorised encampments in Brownsover and Dunchurch thanks to new legal powers secured by Rugby Borough Council (RBC) last year.
Travellers moved onto council land at Hollowell Way play area in Brownsover and Dunchurch Heath late on Sunday (July 7).
The following day, they were given notice to leave by RBC community wardens – meaning they have to demonstrate a need to stay, move, or face arrest.
The travellers had left by the end of the day.
Brownsover residents reported the travellers broke down a fence and ran over new trees to get in to the park off Parkend before setting up camp on communal football pitches.
They also reported rubbish had been left behind after the travellers were evicted at around 3pm.
Speaking before the camps were evicted, RBC’s environment and public realm spokesman Coun Howard Roberts said: “Unauthorised encampments often cause distress to residents and can take a lot of time and money to clean up.
“We will carry out health and wellbeing checks on everyone involved, and if all is well we will be able to move these encampments on without having to revisit the courts.
“I would like to thank the council’s enforcement officers for acting quickly in addressing these camps at Dunchurch and Brownsover.”
RBC secured new legal powers last summer allowing police to immediately arrest travellers who camp on council land, following a string of illegal encampments in the borough.
The council dealt with more than a dozen camps in 2018, with Whitehall Recreation Ground, Brownsover’s Criss Cross Park and Whinfield Recreation Ground all being targeted.
On each occasion, the council had to serve notice of intention to evict, before securing a court date in order to apply to magistrates for an eviction order.
But now anyone who occupies council land can be arrested for contempt of court – with sentences ranging from a fine to imprisonment – after Deputy District Judge Stephen Wrigley agreed the frequency of encampments and the level of disruption caused warranted tougher legal powers.
To report an illegal encampment in the borough, visit www.rugby.gov.uk/illegalencampment or call (01788) 533533.