Illegal traveller camp set up in Werrington moves short distance to near beauty spot

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“I am determined that we do everything we can to ensure Peterborough does not become a soft touch for illegal traveller encampments. “

An illegal travellers site set up over the weekend has moved a short distance to near a city beauty spot after Peterborough City Council took action on the group.

The camp was set up on playing fields next to Ken Stimpson School in Werrington over the weekend. Peterborough City Council issued the group with a section 77 notice, requiring them to move on.

Now the group has set up on land near Cuckoos Hollow.

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The new camp. Pic: Paul BristowThe new camp. Pic: Paul Bristow
The new camp. Pic: Paul Bristow

After the group set up over the weekend, Peterborough MP Paul Bristow called for a meeting with police over the issue of travellers.

He called on police to use new powers, introduced last year, which mean people caught breaching conditions of the act can face a prison sentence of up to three months, a fine of up to £2,500 or seizure of vehicles.

In a letter to Superintendent Neil Billany, police area commander for Peterborough, he said: “I am determined that we do everything we can to ensure Peterborough does not become a soft touch for illegal traveller encampments.

“I would like to set up a meeting with yourself and your team to discuss how you you plan on dealing with these unwanted encampments now and in the future.”We need a plan in place on how these powers will be used. We need to resolve this incident and deter any future illegal encampments appearing in the future.”

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Werrington councillor John Fox agreed, saying: “There is no point in having the news laws if no-one is going to enforce it.”

On Monday (May 22) A Peterborough City Council Spokesperson, said: “We have started the process of moving the group on using local authority powers, the initial visit has been undertake and a Section 77 will be issued. We will work closely with the police, although at the current time the use of police powers is currently under review.”

Also on Monday, Inspector Mike Jackman said: “The local authority have today issued a section 77 notice. The use of police powers under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022 is currently under review with officers undertaking an assessment at the scene.”

The encampment is the latest to appear in Peterborough, with a separate camp set up in Werrington in April. There were calls to use the new powers to move the group on – but in the end, it was Peterborough City Council who took action, rather than the police.

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Other camps have been set up elsewhere in the city over the spring, including in the Ortons.

At the time, Inspector Mike Jackman said: “As set out in national guidance on legislation under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022, we respond appropriately to cases based on the individual circumstances.

“This includes balancing considerations as to whether the alleged trespassing meets the threshold of ‘causing, or likely to cause, significant damage, disruption or distress’, alongside the potential impact taking enforcement action may have on families involved or other vulnerable people.

“We agreed with the council that the most appropriate course of action was a Section 77 notice with due regard to the impact to the wider community.”