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Travellers return to Willenhall field

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | Crime | Published:

Travellers have set up an illegal camp on fields in Willenhall for the second time in less than a month as officers continue to tackle a series of incursions.

Travellers on Five Fields, off Pool Hayes Lane in Willenhall. Photo: Councillor Adam Hicken

A fleet of 10 vans and other vehicles drove on to Five Fields off Pool Hayes Lane on Tuesday, prompting Walsall Council to launch an investigation.

Officers from the authority were already dealing with an another unauthorised encampment (UE) at Emmanuel Church in Cairn Drive, Bentley – who left on Wednesday ahead of a court hearing – when this was reported.

Walsall has seen a string of illegal camps in the past few weeks across the borough, prompting calls for more security at vulnerable sites to stop them entering in the first place.

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A group had previously driven on to Five Fields on July 10, having been moved on from nearby Coppice Farm neighbourhood park.

Willenhall North councillor Adam Hicken said he was now concerned the area will see more encampments unless measures are put in place to stop them.

At the end of June, travellers broke on to the playing fields of New Invention Junior School, destroying an orchard created by pupils, started bonfires and reportedly committed theft from nearby gardens.

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In the past month, there have also been encampments in Brownhills, Aldridge and on land in Walsall town centre.

Councillor Hicken said: “We desperately need the powers to be able to secure our sites. The change in the law can’t come quickly enough.”

Councillor Garry Perry, portfolio holder for community, said: “Walsall Council can confirm that the unauthorised encampment at Cairn Drive, Bentley has now left the site.

“Its departure was just prior to a court hearing at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court.

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“Clean and Green services will visit the site as soon as possible to remove and clean up any related waste.

“We can also confirm that our officers are investigating a further UE off Pool Hayes Lane involving 10 vans and associated vehicles.

“We are currently checking the status of the land and if appropriate will re-secure the site as quickly as possible.”

On Tuesday, Walsall Council’s scrutiny committee called for a ‘lessons learned’ report into the influx of UEs in the borough during the past month.

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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