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Travellers camp at Weymouth park and ride
A GROUP of travellers have set up camp in a council car park in Weymouth.
They arrived in a number of caravans at the Mount Pleasant park and ride site.
They have set up in the corner of the overspill car park at the back of Weymouth Rugby Club.
There are about a dozen caravans and several other vehicles in the car park, which is owned and managed by Dorset County Council.
A group of French Roma travellers moved on to the same site last September and stayed for a short time.
Some residents are calling for the new visitors to move on.
Police are monitoring the situation and it is understood the group will be visited by the county council’s gypsy and traveller liaison team.
A police spokesman said the force received a report of approximately 12 caravans arriving on Wednesday lunchtime.
“Local officers are monitoring the situation and liaising with council officials,” said the spokesman, who added that it would be the responsibility of the landowner to serve an eviction notice.
One homeowner in nearby said although there have not been any problems he thinks the travellers should leave.
He said: “There haven’t been any problems with this group.
“About eight caravans and a number of vehicles arrived within the last two days.
“Travellers have parked there for the last 10 years, not necessarily in the park and ride but in the fields there.
“There have been problems in the past with litter left behind.
“I think they should be moved on, they shouldn’t be there.”
No-one was available for comment at Dorset County Council.
Borough councillor for the area Bill White said: “I think the thing that bothers people is that the group can go in and park for nothing when you or I would have to pay.
“I don’t want to pre-judge this situation but if they tidy up and don’t make a nuisance there won’t be any complaints.
“So far however our experience in this area has been anything but pleasant.”
Community spokesman for the borough council Geoff Petherick said there was a formal process that authorities go through when dealing with travellers.
He said: “Both the county council and borough council look at this sort of situation in the same way.
“We need to talk to the travellers, and almost all of them are known to us already, and go through a needs assessment.
“There’s a standard process which we go through every time.
“We would find out how long they are planning on staying for and if it was borough land we might consult our legal advisers about moving them on.”