A GROUP of French travellers set up camp on the park and ride site in Weymouth.

The nine caravans belonging to a group of French Roma travellers moved on to the Dorset County Council-owned Mount Pleasant park and ride site.

Council representatives have met the group and the travellers say they will go tomorrow, although it is understood some have left already.

Borough councillor Bill White, who represents the Radipole area, said he had received complaints after the travellers moved in on Sunday.

He said: “There are concerns this area should not be used for that purpose, it’s a place where people pay to leave their cars and these people are not paying.

“There is a lot of concern about how this should be tackled. The thing is that at the moment there are no designated sites for travellers so it’s very difficult to get them to move on immediately.”

There was a temporary travellers’ site available during the Olympics at the Enterprise Business Park, Piddlehinton , but it closed earlier this week.

Coun White added: “The travellers aren’t paying but if you or I park up there we have to pay for the privilege.”

There have been negotiations with the travellers in Weymouth in order to move them on as soon as possible.

A spokesman from Dorset County Council added: “Their English isn’t good but from the conversations we managed to have we know that they are planning to move on by the end of the week.

“If this does not happen we will have to visit them again and take it from there.”

Paula Clover, Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer for Dorset County Council, said the group had come to England for a ‘change of scenery.’ She added the group were relatively quiet and tidy.

Mrs Clover said: “They have volunteered to move on by Friday and we have been going down every day to remind them of this.

“If not then we will have to start court proceedings but hopefully it won’t come to that.”

The appearance of the travellers comes after Dorset County Council claimed it was not “a soft touch” when it came to illegal traveller sites.

The council claimed it would introduce new measures such as fining travellers who parked without permission on land it owns.