ROUND-UP: Frustration and problems over four travellers encampments in Peterborough
Criticism has been levelled at the police after travellers were allowed to remain next to football pitches despite being served an order to leave.
Travellers had only departed Ringwood in Bretton by Monday lunchtime despite police promising to forcibly evict them if they had not departed by Saturday at 1pm.
A number of travellers have pitched up on land over the past week, with encampments spotted in Stanground, Lynch Wood Business Park in Orton Wistow and the beauty spot of Cuckoo’s Hollow in Werrington.
Steve Purnell, development manager at ICA Sports, said the presence of travellers at Ringwood had forced a women’s match to be moved to Queen’s Park in Yaxley.
He also claimed the travellers had caused problems during Saturday’s match against Moulton Harrox and that girls teams had seen their training disrupted with caravans driven through one of the pitches.
Mr Purnell 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.”
A police spokesperson said a Section 61 requirement was served on the travellers, meaning that if they did not move within a specified period of time they could be prosecuted and have vehicles seized.
She added: “No further reports were made to police about the encampment over the weekend and they left the location on Monday morning.”
The spokesperson said police are investigating after an incident involving a young girl and a football being taken.
Peterborough City Council is now applying for a court order to get permission to remove people and property by football pitches in Thurning Avenue, Stanground.
The travellers had been served a notice by the council to have left by 2pm yesterday but they had not done so.
At Lynch Wood, the council is working with the private land owners to evict travellers.
A police spokeswoman said: “We were called at 11.06am on Monday with reports of an abusive conversation between a traveller and a member of the public.
“No threats or harm to life were made.”
Councillor John Fox, member for Werrington on the city council, said he had tried to put his car across the entrance to Cuckoo’s Hollow to stop the travellers entering but was too late.
He added: “If you are found on land that’s secure, it should be a criminal offence.”
The council has begun the eviction process for the travellers at Cuckoo’s Hollow.