TRAVELLERS who have illegally made camp in Droitwich have been served with a notice by the town council ordering them to leave by midday today (June 13).

Five caravans and other supporting vehicles arrived at Spring Meadow Park overnight between Sunday and Monday, with police escorting officers as they handed over the notice.

Councillors debated the issue of travellers coming to the town with Sergeant Sarah Kent at a meeting on Monday evening, who said she has increased patrols in the area.

Cllr Tom Noyes referred to the town’s traveller issue as a “damn nuisance” and said residents “have to suffer this on a regular basis”.

Ward representative Cllr Sital Harris said she had been “inundated” with concerns from residents about the travellers.

“Might I just remind you, a lot of them are elderly and not used to what is out there, so extra patrols really would be appreciated just until they are moved on,” she said.

Cllr Noyes asked the sergeant: “How heavy-handed can you be with these travellers?

“Is there a way we can get compensation, or can they be prosecuted for what they’re doing?

“I don’t think anybody likes it. Nothing happens to the travellers. It seems to me, they don’t pay, they just walk away with it.”

Sgt Kent told him: “Heavy-handed is not a phrase we use”.

“I’ve got no powers to make them pay. If you mean rubbish or damage, if it’s criminal offences, then I can deal with them, record them, investigate them – because evidence shows they’ve done it.

“But, other than that, when it comes to legislation, swiftness of removal and procedures, that’s all government-led, and obviously I can only go by the rules and laws that we’ve got.

She continued: “There’s different powers in relation to people who are trespassing unauthorised on land – the council are using their powers.

“There are some police powers, but they aren’t necessarily applicable in this case.

“It’s difficult. If there’s any anti-social behaviour we will be there and will deal with it.”

She said the police are here to “serve and protect” the travellers as much as the other residents of the town.

“We need to do it without fear and favour. Equally, I will respect that the community maybe in fear so hence the increased patrol,” she added.

Cllr Bob Brookes, who is also on the county and district council, said the town council should contact Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston, asking for legislation relating to travellers to be reviewed.