Travellers set up camp near Peterborough Showcase Cinema car park after being moved by police

Unauthorised encampments under new police laws cannot return to same location within a year
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Travellers, who were moved off land in Peterborough, have set up in a car park near the city’s Showcase cinema.

Police used new powers over the weekend to move the group on from land near Cardea – but now they have moved the camp to Boongate.

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A Cambridgeshire Police spokesperson said: “Over the weekend we served a section 60C notice – to leave the land – to an unauthorised encampment in Flaxley Road, near Cardea.

Travellers in the Showcase Cinema overflow car park at BoongateTravellers in the Showcase Cinema overflow car park at Boongate
Travellers in the Showcase Cinema overflow car park at Boongate

“After assessing calls for service, carrying out site visits to speak with those as part of the encampment, and liaising with local businesses, a decision was made whereby we deemed the behaviour met the threshold to serve the notice, due to significant damage, disruption and distress being caused.

“The notice required the encampment to move on and not return to the same location within 12 months, otherwise action can be taken by police including arrest, seizing vehicles and property.

“The maximum penalty for the offence is three months in prison, a fine of up to £2,500 or both.

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“Whilst we do not use these powers lightly and we have to balance the rights of the settled community and those in the encampments, we cannot allow significant anti-social behaviour (ASB) or other similar behaviours to take place.

“The encampment has since left the location, however we are aware they have now set up in Boongate.

“The process of carrying out site visits, assessing behaviour and calls for service will now start again, to enable us to consider what action is appropriate for us to take.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara welcomed the move, and said: “'I am very pleased to see that the police are using the legal powers they have to evict Travellers setting up illegal encampments, as they have done so in Cardea. I very much hope that this will not be a one-off instance, but that the police will continue to use the law in similar circumstances in our area.'

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Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has called on police to use the Section 60 powers, following a number of complaints from residents about the impact travellers have had on communities in the city.

He raised the issue at Prime Ministers’ Questions in the House of Commons in June.

Police had not used the powers in Peterborough until last month, when a group of caravans were moved on.

The Peterborough Telegraph has contacted Showcase Cinemas for comment about the latest camp.