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Following the disruption caused by recent unwelcome traveller encampments in the Wychavon and Worcester areas, Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire has met senior representatives of Wychavon district council and West Mercia police to discuss possible action.
At a meeting at the Pershore offices of the district council on Monday, the managing director, Jack Hegarty and Inspector Sean Kent, who is in charge of policing in Wychavon, talked through the recent problems encampments have caused local people and possible steps that could be taken to reduce those problems in the future.

The meeting confirmed an earlier decision to produce more detailed information for parish councils and local residents on the powers available to landowners, councils and the police when an area of land is illegally occupied by travellers.

A range of possible changes to the law were also discussed to make it easier:
• to prevent trespass in the first place,
• to prevent travellers moved on from one inappropriate site simply going to another one nearby, and
• to impose more effective penalties on travellers who repeatedly created public nuisance by occupying inappropriate sites or leaving them in an unacceptable condition.

The possibility of establishing a formal transit site for travellers somewhere in the county was also discussed but it was agreed that finding an acceptable location would be very challenging.

Commenting, Peter said,

“We recognise that most travellers do not cause a nuisance and go about their travelling lifestyle in a way that does not result in significant disruption to the settled community.

“But the activities of the anti-social minority have again been causing dismay and anger to people in places like Droitwich and around Worcester.

“There is no one solution to these complex problems, but the three of us felt that it would be possible both to use existing powers better and to seek a strengthening of those powers to reduce the number of simply shocking scenes we have seen in the county recently.

“The police and the council will now consult with their colleagues elsewhere in the county before bringing forward proposal for detailed changes to the law. Those changes will be intended to strengthen the hands of those charged with dealing with the disruption caused by the illegal and anti-social activities of some travellers. “


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