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Travellers pitch up at town rugby club

PUBLISHED: 10:59 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:20 29 May 2018

A group of travellers has arrived in Colchester   Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A group of travellers has arrived in Colchester Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

A group of travellers arrived at a popular Essex rugby ground at the weekend - which is likely to cause disruption to users of the site.

Some of the damage caused by travellers in Colchester   Picture: CONTRIBUTEDSome of the damage caused by travellers in Colchester Picture: CONTRIBUTED

At least five caravans have set up camp at Colchester Rugby Club in Mill Road after forcing their way onto a pitch on Sunday evening.

Colchester Borough Council says it is aware of the unauthorised encampment and the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit has been contacted.

It isn’t the first time travellers have pitched up at the rugby club.

In July last year up to 30 caravans arrived at the site and the group eventually moved on after being served with a direction to leave notice.

The clear-up bill was estimated at around £3,000.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said a Section 61 notice directing the travellers to leave the land has been served today.

The police have a power to remove trespassers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (CJPOA).

Chief Inspector Shaun Kane, district commander, said: “I am very aware of the community’s concerns about the unauthorised encampment and the disruption it has caused.

“The act of trespass is a civil matter and we have been working with the landowner and councils to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

“We will not hesitate to serve Section 61 notices, which we have done today, but we can only do this if is lawful, necessary and proportionate in the individual circumstances.

“We will continue to monitor the situation until the site is cleared.

“We have received reports of antisocial behaviour and criminal damage and I urge anyone who has witnessed this to contact us so that we can make every effort to hold those responsible to account.”

A Colchester Borough Council spokesman said: “We are aware of the issue at Colchester Rugby Club.

“We have advised the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) of the unauthorised encampment and they will be visiting the to carry out the initial welfare checks.

“We are liaising with the police regarding the encampment and they have visited the site.”

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