Residents vow to take direct action unless travellers are moved on

An example of the piles of rubbish being created. Many photographs from the action group shows what appears to be human excrement on tissues and wipes, which have been dumped around the area. SP

An example of the piles of rubbish being created. Many photographs from the action group shows what appears to be human excrement on tissues and wipes, which have been dumped around the area. SP

First published in Local

ALVECHURCH residents say they may be forced to take direct action if travellers who have set up illegal encampments in the village are not moved on immediately, and the area secured for the future.

Travellers have been on the private land on Birmingham Road since Thursday, July 17.

And a residents' group which has been set up believes robust protocols should be put in place between the police and Local Authority to enable swift court action which results in the removal of any unlawful encampments.

The residents were due to present a petition to Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, last night, and say their action will continue after this for as long as it takes.

A spokesman said: "The travellers are defecating in open areas, including on public footpaths and near a watercourse which then runs through a council-managed children’s park. This is clearly a serious environmental hazard. One area in particular - the underpass under the M42 - has become nothing more than a human toilet – the evidence of which can be seen on our Facebook page. (http://on.fb.me/1oYWhQH)

"The travellers have also been involved in several unpleasant and dangerous incidents ranging from harassment of villagers in shops and excessive noise levels, to use of shotguns and intimidation of drivers, by stepping suddenly in the paths of oncoming cars.

"Our parish council has no legal authority in this matter but they have done all they can to try and achieve positive action, all without success. If no positive action is taken to remove the travellers, then we, the residents, will be forced to consider direct action ourselves, perhaps similar to that seen in another village recently."

The example the spokesman cited was when villagers in West Sussex were involved in a four-hour stand-off to successfully fend off travellers from their green.

The spokesman added: "Other Local Authorities and police forces around the country seem to take a much more proactive approach in these situations to bring things to a swift conclusion. We demand that the available legal powers are used immediately to remove the current unlawful incursion, and that clear and efficient protocols are put in place to speed up such action in the future, should any other illegal encampments arise in our area. We also intend to continue to lobby both our District and County Councils, including our local councillors, to secure all vulnerable locations within our area, ensuring illegal travellers can no longer exploit and desecrate our village.

"Alvechurch Against Unlawful Encampments will demonstrate that our villagers will not tolerate the abuse of its land and facilities."

Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/alvechurchagainst, see alvechurchagainstunlawfulencampments on Facebook, or email ilovealvechurch@gmail.co to contact campaigners.

A Bromsgrove District Council spokesman said: "The council has no direct responsibility for trespass on privately owned land and responsibility usually rests with the landowner. We would advise the landowner to see if a leaving date can be agreed with the gypsies and if not take reasonable steps to remove them. Alternatively the landowner may take proceedings in the county court under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 to obtain a court order for their eviction."

Inspector Sarah Corteen from West Mercia police said: "A possession order was served on a field last week after the land owners complained and this was vacated over the weekend. Some of the travellers have moved into an adjacent field.

"Along with our partners in the council, we are currently working with the land owner to encourage a civil reconciliation. There have been some complaints of anti social behaviour which we have been responding to and we have been targeting resources with more patrols out in the community."

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