November 19, 2018 11.27 am This story is over 36 months old

Council to apply for city-wide travellers injunction order

Anyone pitched illegally could fave jail

City of Lincoln Council is set to apply for a High Court injunction order in an effort to tackle illegal traveller sites in a city-wide crackdown.

Senior councillors have been recommended to back the new plans to obtain powers to move unauthorised traveller encampments along more quickly.

If approved by the authority’s executive, officials will apply to the High Court to gain the order.

Councillors will meet to discuss the plans at a meeting on November 26.

City Hall, off Orchard Street. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It comes as the council spent £44,160.47 since 2015 clearing up sites such as Skellingthorpe playing fields, South Common and Yarborough Leisure Centre.

The authority has said it has had problems with traveller sites in numerous areas across the city.

Officials said travellers at Hartsholme Country Park were the “most difficult to manage” due to anti-social behaviour and abuse to officers.

Meanwhile, council officers had to instruct bailiffs to remove travellers at South Common in September in a move which they said was the “longest” encampment they have had.

Now, the council is set to apply for a city-wide injunction order.

Caravans at Hartsholme Country Park. Photo: Daniel Ionescu for The Lincolnite

The proposed order would be similar to one granted to Boston Borough Council back in 2014.

It means those occupying protected sites in the city could face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine if they do not leave immediately.

Under the plans, the council would prevent traveller sites being set up on areas of land within the city boundary, such as South Common and Yarborough Leisure Centre.

If a site is set up, then the police would serve the injunction order immediately advising them that they are trespassing.

A similar order is in place in the City of Wolverhampton Council area where 60 sites are covered by the injunction.

The proposal has been given backing by Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector, Stewart Brinn, and Lincolnshire County Council’s travellers liaison officer.

Simon Walters, director of communities and environment at the city council, said in a report that the order is working as a “deterrent” in other areas.

He said: “The advantage of such an injunction is that an unauthorised encampment can be served with the order immediately to advise them of the fact that they are trespassing on the land.

“That will start the legal process to enable the council to obtain authority from the court to remove them without the need for substantial evidence to be gathered as they are breaching the order just by being on the land.

“The relevant welfare checks will still need to be made, however an application to the court will be made quickly and if found to be in breach of the order, enforcement action can commence.

“Anyone illegally occupying the protected sites could be arrested and imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized.”

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