Broken posts left on grass as travellers set up in Northampton park

Travellers in Far Cotton Recreation Ground
Travellers in Far Cotton Recreation Ground

A group of travellers has pitched up in another Northampton park.

The 10 caravan encampment is believed to have arrived on Far Cotton Recreation Ground at around 11.30pm on Friday evening.

Broken posts were seen on the grass near the park's edge.

A spokesperson for Northamptonshire County Council said: "The Countywide Traveller Unit (CTU) has been made aware of a traveller encampment of 10 caravans on Far Cotton Recreation Ground.

"A welfare assessment will be carried out today, with a view to moving the encampment on."

Northamptonshire Police has urged residents and witnesses to report any criminal damage to them so that it can investigate.

The head of local policing, Superintendent Emily Vernon, said: "Northamptonshire Police recognises the impact that unauthorised encampments have upon the community and we continue to work with local authorities and community representatives in addressing ongoing concerns regarding unauthorised encampments.

"The responsibility and legal powers for dealing with unlawful encampments rests with a number of agencies, led by the Countywide Traveller Unit, or the landowner.

“We are doing all we can to address the very legitimate concerns of our communities with regards to unauthorised encampments, however, we can only operate within the guidelines set out in law and continue to review and learn from every case on an ongoing basis."

The police also have powers to remove unauthorised encampments but these powers only apply in certain circumstances:

- Under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act the police have powers to move unlawful encampments from the land. Specific criteria and aggravating factors need to be present for this power to be applied. The legislation does not cover other travellers who may enter that land, or other land in the area and there is no police power to prevent movement onto other land in the Northamptonshire area.

- Under Section 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act the police have powers to direct unlawful encampments to designated council sites. However, as there is no provision within the Northamptonshire area for these sites, this power is not available to us.