POLICE in Winchester and East Hampshire have moved on a group of travellers who set up at two unsuitable locations.

For the first time in Winchester they used section 61 powers to twice evict the group.

The travellers moved on to the park and ride at Hockley Link, on Thursday, November 1.

This led to 100 parking spaces being unavailable and Winchester City Council took legal action.

Officers received complaints regarding mess, nuisance and damage which led to Chief Inspector James Fulton authorising a section 61 Dispersal Notice requiring the group to leave by a given time on Tuesday, November 6.

The travellers left the site by the required time and relocated to a lay-by alongside the A32 in West Meon.

Hampshire County Council Highways team were concerned for the safety of the travellers and also the impact to other road users. A further Section 61 order was issued ordering them off by Thursday, November 8.

Under section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 powers can be considered by police in the following circumstances:
• Significant nuisance or criminal behaviour;
• Unacceptable levels of damage to land or property to gain entry or remain;
• Danger to travellers from the chosen site, such as environmental health factors.
Chief Insp James Fulton said: “This is the first time that a Section 61 Dispersal Notice has been issued in Winchester.  Although the travellers left the site without incident, they have left behind rubbish and litter and have caused damage to a number of parking machines.  The cost to clear the site and repair the damage is estimated to be in the region of £4,500.
“I hope this swift action to move the travellers on from locations that were unsuitable will convey to all sections of the community that a robust approach will be taken against encampments within legal parameters.”