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Traveller encampment in Lightwater ordered to leave by Surrey Police

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Traveller encampment in Lightwater ordered to leave by Surrey Police

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 3:58pm 27th April 2020.

A group of travellers who set up camp in Lightwater last week have been handed a notice to leave by Surrey Police.

They arrived at the Recreation Ground on Broadway Road last Tuesday (21 April). 

The force has been closely monitoring the situation and visiting the site with Surrey Heath Borough Council regularly, often multiple times a day following 40 reports of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Surrey Police has this afternoon (27 April) served the members of the encampment with a Direction to Leave under Section 61 (S61) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Superintendent Tom Budd said the force has received increased reports of crime and antisocial behaviour over the last 24 hours:

"We are able to now intervene on this civil matter using powers within the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

"It’s important for the public to know that we can only respond to concerns that have been officially reported to us either online, via 101 or 999 if there is crime taking place right now, as these form the basis for our evidence-based decision-making.

"I appreciate the significant impact that this encampment has had on local residents and businesses, in what are challenging and frightening times with the ongoing pandemic in our communities.”

Windlesham Parish Council who owns the Recreation Ground issued an eviction notice to the encampment on Friday (24 April) but the notice expired. 

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Surrey Heath Borough Council Tim Pashen said they have been taking the encampment very seriously:

“We understand the concerns of the local residents especially at this time of social distancing.

"We have been following government advice on encampments and provided toilets, water, and rubbish bags, as well as providing health and safety advice regarding the current pandemic.

"We will be restoring the recreation ground as soon as possible following the removal of the encampment so that the facility is safe for use by local residents.”

David Munro, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner said,

“I can greatly appreciate the frustration and anger that has been caused by this unauthorised encampment, that has been heightened during a time when the vast majority of residents are making the necessary sacrifices to help keep our communities safe from Covid-19.

"I continue to stand by Surrey Police and am pleased that decisive joint action has now been taken to ensure that the residents of Lightwater can feel safe in their local spaces.”