Dorset Police join forces with Dorset Council to tackle unauthorised encampments of travellers across West Dorset

  Posted: 03.06.21 at 13:10 by Lottie Welch

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Dorset Police has worked alongside Dorset Council to tackle unauthorised encampments across West Dorset over the bank holiday weekend.

The first was around 6.30pm on Friday, May 28 when officers were called to reports of a group of travellers at Weymouth Rugby Club. They spoke to the group and monitored the incident overnight. Separate unauthorised encampments were also reported at Swannery car park and the Nothe.

On Saturday, May 29, police returned to the rugby club while an alternative site at Piddlehinton was made available. While officers were there, the group left and went to the Marsh Swimming Pool area around midday.

A notice under 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was served on the group to leave the site by 10.30am on Sunday, May 30 to the site in Piddlehinton. The group left the area by the stated time.

Dorset County Local Police Area (LPA) Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Lyne said: “Having listened to the various groups involved and considering the various parties’ rights, officers worked alongside colleagues at Dorset Council to move on these groups from key community locations using the available and relevant powers. The decision was also made to allow two smaller encampments to remain as there was no impact on the local community and they had worked with the local authority on the site, including buying parking tickets.

“We have robust plans in place to deal with unauthorised encampments throughout the summer months and we continue to ask residents and visitors to respect each other and help protect the county’s environment.”

Dorset Police received another report at around 7.50am on Tuesday, June 1 of another group at Bridport Leisure Centre. Following talks with the local authority and the leisure centre, officers gave the group a section 62 direction to leave the site.

Chief Superintendent Steve Lyne added: “Officers carried out regular patrols in the area and liaised with those present, as well as the local community. The group left the site at around 9pm on Tuesday, June 1 in line with the section 62 direction.”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “Our gypsy and traveller liaison service is working with Dorset Police, liaising with travellers and landowners to provide advice and support to landowners and the settled community. We also act as a first point of contact for travellers for health, welfare, housing and education issues.

“Our transit site at Piddlehinton can provide a solution to unauthorised encampments and enable the police to use particular powers. We ask everyone to be respectful and look after our county.”

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