Traveller group returns to Bury St Edmunds and sets up illegal encampment

Travellers have returned to Bury St Edmunds and have settled on land off Vinery Rd.
Travellers have returned to Bury St Edmunds and have settled on land off Vinery Rd.
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A group of travellers has returned to Bury St Edmunds and set up another illegal encampment in the town.

Last Thursday - less than three weeks after leaving Ten Acre Field, on Moreton Hall, for Felixstowe - the group returned to Bury and created an unauthorised encampment in Holywater Meadow, off Vinery Road.

Up to 15 caravans have been seen occupying the field near the Spread Eagle pub, which is a popular recreation spot for children.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which owns the site, said the group had gained entry through a locked gate from the council-owned car park.

“A report of criminal damage has been made to the police and we have started the legal process to remove the encampment,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said it received a report of travellers at the site at 2.40pm last Thursday and the local Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeant had visited to speak to the group on the same day.

“Suffolk Police has also received a report that criminal damage has been caused to a lock on a gate leading onto the field – this matter is being investigated,” she said.

Sarah Stamp, Suffolk county councillor for the Hardwick division, said she had received emails and telephone calls from residents concerned with alleged antisocial behaviour around the Vinery Road car park and from dog walkers who felt unable to use Holywater Meadow as they would normally do.

She said: “I would like to reassure local residents that as the local councillor I am being kept informed and keeping up the pressure where needed. I would urge anyone concerned about antisocial behaviour to report it to the police by calling 101.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Police is committed to working in partnership with the local authority and, where relevant, land owners to keep problems to a minimum.

“If problems occur we will deal with them, as we deem appropriate, and we are committed to positively policing the situation, monitoring on a daily basis and responding to any concerns.

“However, the Government considers the travellers’ lifestyle to be a legitimate one, and they enjoy the protection of the law. The police must balance the often conflicting needs of travellers and local communities within the constraints of the law.”

- This group of travellers has been served with Section 77 notices at a number of locations around Bury.

- The notices give the council powers to direct groups to leave, generally within 24 hours.

- If the groups remain, the council can then obtain an order for removal of vehicles and persons.

Locations and dates that they were served:

Holywater Meadow - September 05

Ten Acre Field – August 08

Heldhaw Road – July 26

Pond Grove Close – July 18

Layhill Covert – July 04

St Andrew’s Car Park – June 20

Ram Meadow Car Park – June 17