Police meeting wanted to tackle travellers' costs

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 August 2014

Elfan Ap Rees.

Elfan Ap Rees.

Archant

A MEETING with police is being arranged by North Somerset Council's deputy leader to reduce costs incurred when moving travellers.

Executive member Elfan Ap Rees says thousand of pounds are being spent on court costs to move itinerant travellers off council land, which affects police when they are called to help the authority or private landowners.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “If they refuse to leave, which nine times out of 10 they do, then we have no other alternative but to go to court.

“This can take more than a week to process and in the meantime they are trying to get work.

“A few years ago we had a strong liaison with the police, who have a certain level of authority to not just move them off the site but escort them to the motorway or out of the district.

“We had a situation this week where travellers moved onto Locking Parklands and had been there over the weekend. When bailiffs came in they left and parked on the roadside so North Somerset had to take action.

“In my opinion itinerant travellers would not stay there if people do not give them work.”

Cllr Ap Rees said while he understands the police have resource issues he feels the wrong message is sent out to the public when swift action is not taken.

He added: “It also gives a bad name to those in the travelling and gypsy community who are law-abiding residents. They should not get tarred with the same brush.”

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