Boston

New powers for Boston council to fine illegal traveller camps

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Boston Borough Council has been granted new powers by the High Court to threaten illegal traveller sites with up to two years in prison and unlimited fines.

The council said it has experienced problems with traveller encampments, particularly at green spaces and at leisure facilities.

Leisure managers in the area said they have been left to clear waste including human excrement and old fridges after groups have left.

In the period between May 19, 2015 and January 8, 2018 there have been a total of 13 reports of unlawful camps in the Boston Borough area.

The council’s community safety manager Pete Hunn attended Birmingham High Court this week on behalf of Boston Borough and Lincolnshire County Council.

He was successful in obtaining an ex-parte induction to stop people setting up illegal encampments in the area.

The injunction covers car parks, green open space and roads owned by either council, as well as all land associated within Princess Royal Sports Arena and Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex.

It means anyone caught in breach of the order would be asked to leave immediately. If they do not, sanctions could include up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Michael Cooper, said: “We are one of a very few councils that have applied for this injunction.

“Our residents expect us to take action to move illegal encampments on and this is what we will be doing. I know residents are angry that some travellers continue to move from site to site due to the negative impact on crime and the environment.

“It is important that we use the powers available to us to make it clear that we won’t tolerate illegal encampments anywhere in the Boston borough. We are seeking to create a safer cleaner environment for our residents.”

Dave Horry, Leisure pool manager added: “The impact my team and the users of the leisure complex have experienced when on the last three occasions they have experienced illegal encampments within their grounds.

“Large amount of waste, nappies, human excrement, old fridges and furniture were left on site after they left.

“Also members of the complex had been un-willing to attend the centre and leave their vehicles in the parking area, where caravans and cars from the encampments would take up to 20 spaces and also reports of damage and thefts staff and users had experienced during the times the illegal encampments were here.”

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