A GROUP of travellers pitched up in a park near Southampton with the local authority unable to act because it’s the bank holiday.
Around 30 caravans and motor homes set up camp on the football pitch in Greta Park, Hedge End, leaving local furious.
It is thought the travellers turned up for a wedding but the council will have to wait until the courts reopen after the bank holiday before they can start the process of evicting them.
Local retired resident Bill Goodwin, 77, said he was out walking his dog at 7am on Monday morning when he found the travellers “drinking and playing loud music”.
He said: “It was awful – there was rubbish everywhere. I put some of it in a nearby bin but I could have filled an entire bin liner, it was disgusting.
“Some of the travellers were sat in deck chairs drinking and being loud and playing music, it made me so angry.
“My dog Benny started sniffing some of the rubbish so I kept the walk very quick.
“My wife Christine and I are going to drive somewhere else to walk the dog later. We shouldn’t have to do it, but until they leave we don’t have much choice.”
Mechanic Ben White, 29, was also “outraged” when he went to the park with his six-year-old son Hayden for a kickabout with a football.
Ben said: “I’ve walked up here with Hayden to play some football but it looks like we can’t now.
“I don’t want to cause a scene in front of my son, but I am outraged they can do this and no one challenges them.
“The council should be out there right now telling them to leave – they have no right to use a local park as a temporary living space.
“There is rubbish everywhere, it’s disgusting.
“It would be a small consolation if they were at least respectful and put their litter in the bins, but they haven’t even done that.
“There is no space for us to play football, and to be honest, I don’t really want to kick a ball around with my son here.”
Police turned up at the park this morning to see if any criminality was being committed but they the cops are largely powerless as trespassing is a civil, not criminal offence.
The park is managed by Hedge End Town Council who will need a court order to evict the travellers and the courts will not be open until after the bank holiday.
Resident Sally Nicholls, 62, said: “They were here two years ago – we have real problems with travellers here.
“Someone left the gate open next to the library and they were able to drive straight on to the park.
“On Sunday morning we walked the dogs and there were no issues, but today we turned up to find all of these caravans.
“Last time they were here the council had a lot of trouble with bins because lots of them had been filled with human waste.
“This morning we have already found rubbish dumped all over the park, and some of the women were hanging their washing on bushes to dry.
‘WE JUST WANT THEM GONE’
“The last group of travellers left an awful mess in the toilets at the betting shop, I don’t understand how they can be so messy.
“We have kept our walk quick with the dogs this morning, we had to keep them on their leads because we don’t know if they have dumped glass on the “ground.
“We just want them gone, it makes me furious.”
Mitchell Tree, a 50-year-old plasterer from Hedge End, told the Daily Echo: “The travellers have been here since Sunday when they came between two and three o’clock.
“They always turn up here every year for the past few years and it makes me worry, because I do not know what they are doing.”
A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: “The local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be carrying out regular patrols of the area whilst the encampment is there.
“Please do not call to report that travellers are in the area, unless they have moved location, but continue to report all antisocial behaviour, and vehicle nuisance to police on 101.”
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Travellers living on a site “worth £3million” have warned locals “we will be here forever” as neighbours claim house prices have fallen by £250,000.
Roughly 100 people moved to the plot of land in leafy Little Hadham, Herts, in May, after paying just £3,000 for the site, which could be worth millions if it was developed.
In June 2018 a group of travellers pitched up on grassland in Hull, saying the city was like going on “holiday” for them.
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