TRAVELLERS who were illegally camped next to a car park in Scarborough moved on at the 11th hour – as police prepared to forceably evict them.
Using powers under the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, officers had issued eviction notices on Wednesday night ordering the caravans to be gone from the field at the rear of the Burniston Road car park by yesterday lunchtime.
The majority of the travellers were gone by noon and the rest were moving before the 1pm deadline. If they had not complied officers were on hand and ready to forceably remove them and escort them out of the borough.
Supt Dave Foster, who supervised the police operation, said it had been a success. He said: “We had 25 caravans here this morning.”
He added that they had worked in co-operation with Scarborough Council who owned the land. He said: “The notice to leave has to be given by the landowners who have been working with the police.”
When the Evening News visited the site last week the travellers claimed they were camped there because an official site near Seamer was not open.
The official site, on council land to the north of the B1261 between Seamer and Crossgates, opened on Wednesday and it is the second year it has been used for Seamer Horse Fair.
It is understood that not many of the Burniston Road caravans headed to the Seamer site and instead travelled to the Hull area.
Andy Skelton, Scarborough Council’s head of environmental services, said that the local authority had been taking separate court action to get the evictions.
He said: “We’d been led to believe, by the travellers, that they were going to go to the horse fair. Once it became apparent that they weren’t intending to go to the horse fair but to stay in Burniston Road car park we were pleased to be able to work with the police to bring the situation to a rapid conclusion.
“I am very pleased with the support we’ve had from the police and, as we speak, I am pleased that a majority of travellers have moved off and I am fairly confident that those who remain are intending to move off today.”
He added that there was a large amount of rubbish left at the site and he hoped that council workers could complete the clear up within 24 hours. He said: “It’s an extremely unpleasant job for our staff. The majority of the travellers that have moved off have not gone to Seamer.”
• See tomorrow’s Evening News for a special report on how travellers arriving in the area for the annual horse fair are settling into the official Seamer site.