Travellers leave behind human waste after departing from Peterborough park

Travellers in grass area close to Pyhill in North Bretton EMN-150615-225943009

Travellers in grass area close to Pyhill in North Bretton EMN-150615-225943009

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A popular Peterborough play area had to be closed for a week after travellers pitched up at the site and left behind excrement.

The Bretton Water Park was shut for a week after a number of caravans moved onto land in Pyhill, Bretton on Tuesday (June 9).

And after evading attempts from bailiffs to evict them from the site, they moved to the Pastures in Werrington, off of David’s Lane, two days ago where they remain.

Residents claimed the travellers had left a mess and had driven on footpaths during their stay in Bretton.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I saw one from the group using grass in the park as a lavatory.

“Children play in that area and it is dangerous and could be a health risk.”

Another man, who also asked not to be named, said: “They are parked near a school and I have seen them driving on the footpath in the area.

“It is very dangerous for children and parents going to and from the school.

“They park up on the park a couple of times a year and the council should do something to stop it.

“The water park has been closed for a week during the summer when children should be out playing in it.”

On Monday council officers arrived at the scene to evict the travellers after serving a notice on Friday.

Cambridgeshire police were also called.

A spokesman for the police said: “Police were called at 2.20pm on June 15 by the council to assist with the eviction of a traveller’s encampment at Bretton Park.”

After the travellers moved to Werrington, Amey, the firm contracted by the council to manage cleaning services, cleared up on the site where they found excrement in the grass and empty gas bottles.

A spokesperson for Amey’s environmental services said: “Due to the state of the land, the clean up took two and a half hours which required a team of four streetcare operatives and one specialist cleaner. The total cost of this was £350.”

The travellers were not sent to an emergency stopping place (ESP) which had been set up to provide travellers with a place to stay.

A Peterborough City Council spokesman said: “The ESPs were set up for a family unit of about six caravans and there was not enough space for all the caravans at the ESPs in this instance.

The spokesman added yesterday: “Health and welfare assessments were carried out on Tuesday and the occupants have been served with a notice directing them to leave by today. If they fail to leave then we will apply to the court for an eviction order.”

It is unknown if police were called to the Werrington site.

A police spokeswoman said: “We are working with the city council to ensure there is no breach of the peace.”

Emergency stopping places

A trial of Emergency Stopping Places (ESPs) for travellers was agreed by the council in September 2014 after a two year study with three sites each having space for six caravans.

A council spokesperson said the ESPs have been used. He added: “We have changed the process we use to evict travellers in unauthorised encampments.

“The council now uses criminal law, rather than civil law, to secure quicker evictions.”