BOURNEMOUTH'S council leader has been accused of "stigmatising and stereotyping" gypsies and travellers for admitting he wanted some groups to feel "unwelcome."

Adnan Chaudry, chief executive of Dorset Race Equality Council, and Cllr John Beesley have clashed over the issue of Bournemouth's attitude to travellers.

As recently reported in the Echo, the amount Bournemouth council spends on preventing and evicting travellers has nearly doubled in three years.

A total of £158,000 was spent in 2014 with a similar amount earmarked for this year.

Asked about this by the BBC, Cllr Beesley said money was spent on enhanced security "to ensure that travellers of the sort that we get in Bournemouth on those few occasions are made to feel very unwelcome."

He said he was not convinced a transit site would work and questioned what would happen when it was full and whether different traveller groups would want to share one site.

And he added: "Why should the council taxpayer pay for all of this when actually these people get off scot-free and usually leave a huge amount of cost to be addressed once they've gone?"

Mr Chaudry said he was "saddened" by Cllr Beesley's comments. "I think it's really wrong to stigmatise and stereotype a whole group of people," he told the Echo.

"He wants to stigmatise a whole group of people as dirty and not wanting to play by the rules. That's certainly not my experience of working with gypsy communities in Dorset."

He said Bournemouth council would save money in the long-term if it followed the example of other local authorities and asked travellers to sign a social contract to gain access to an official site containing a bin and a toilet.

"I would urge Cllr Beesley to speak with Leeds, Somerset and other local authorities who have adopted a more tolerant approach," he said.

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