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Council slated as travellers return to park just days after another group left

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Families living in the leafy Mannamead and Laird areas of Plymouth, Devon, have vented their anger after a group of travellers arrived at a park – days after another group left the same site. Residents are fed-up with the council, which they claim has “failed in its duty to prevent” travellers returning to Trefusis Park.

Around nine caravans and assorted vehicles arrived on Friday, leaving dog walkers and families with children again wary to use the recreation field and playground. 

And one resigned social media user wrote: “Looks like we better just accept them because the council don’t appear to do much to stop them.”

Another shared: “About time the council impounded their vehicles for trespassing.”

The previous group of travellers left the park after they were issued a 24 hour Notice To Quit order. They reportedly had gained entry after contractors carrying out work on an ongoing sewage leak allegedly left the gates open.

But, speaking on Friday, one resident told Plymouth Live: “The council has failed to simply stop the travellers return to the park. Would love you to go to them and ask them why the residents have travellers within 10 days of their departure to have a second lot return after the council failed to put up a post [blocking entry].

“After the South West Water was doing repairs to the park after flooding they [the council] told the residents they couldn’t put back the post as South West Water was coming back to finish the work after the first lot of travellers left. They have not seen one South West Water van in the street for ten days.

“The residents have complained to councillors Andrea Johnson and Nick Kelly about the post being put back but nothing and they have now a second lot of travellers on the park.”

Plymouth: Travellers with a horse arrive at Tothill Park in May

Residents said the previous group had broken glass on the grass, and reported seeing “lots and lots of dogs” on the site.

Plymouth City Council, which the Labour Party lost to no overall control this year, says the new group will be evicted.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment at Trefusis Park and have carried out the necessary welfare checks.

“Because the court has already given us possession after a previous encampment at this location earlier this year, we will be moving straight to the eviction stage of the process.

“More information on how we manage unauthorised encampments can be found here: www.plymouth.gov.uk/newsroom/briefings/howwehandleunauthorisedtravellersites”

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