Travellers who ‘caused problems for football club’ miss police deadline to leave land in Bretton

Travellers at Ringwood. Photo: @ICASportsLadies
Travellers at Ringwood. Photo: @ICASportsLadies

Travellers accused of causing problems for a Peterborough football club did not leave land in Bretton until nearly two days after a police deadline.

Steve Purnell, development manager at ICA Sports, said travellers at Ringwood had disrupted matches and training at the football pitches and that their presence forced a women’s match to be moved to Queen’s Park in Yaxley.

Cambridgeshire police had issued a Section 61 notice to the travellers last week, ordering them to leave by Saturday (August 13) at 1pm, an hour before the kick-off between ICA Sports and Moulton Harrox.

Police had stated they would forcibly remove the travellers, following reports of nuisance behaviour, if they had not left by that time and that patrols could be brought into the area.

However, a police spokeswoman said the travellers did not leave until Monday morning, while a Peterborough City Council spokeswoman said they left Monday lunchtime.

Mr Purnell said the travellers had moved in a week ago and that coaches had had to stop training on Monday evening for the under 10s girls.

The following evening he said they had driven through a pitch while the under 12 girls were training, forcing them to stop what they were doing.

Mr Purnell also said the travellers had caused problems during Saturday’s match and that the opposition were “not impressed” and “uneasy” about their presence.

He added: “The biggest frustration is we get a comment saying they will be forcibly removed by one o’clock, but by four they were still there.

“They were constantly driving around the pitches. We were there from 11 o’clock but there was no police presence at all.”

Mr Purnell said there were about six or seven caravans present on Saturday, and he claimed that Ketton FC, who ICA are playing this evening (Tuesday, August 16) had asked for the fixture to take place at their home ground instead due to the travellers.

He said that this was the third time travellers had moved onto Ringwood in the last 12 months and that the council has been asked to better secure the gate at the site.

The council said a padlock on the gate had been broken by the travellers to enter Ringwood and that they are reviewing the defences around the land.

Police had stepped in at Ringwood after the travellers had failed to leave despite being served a notice by the council.

A police spokesperson said: “A Section 61 requirement was served on the travellers at Ringwood, Bretton, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

“The order means that if the travellers do not move within a specified period of time, they could be prosecuted and have vehicles seized.

“No further reports were made to police about the encampment over the weekend and they left the location on Monday morning.”