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Travellers ordered to move from Brighton park
Travellers set up an illegal camp on a public sports field – just 900 yards from the empty, council-run pitches.
After being evicted from Waterhall playing fields in Brighton, a group of about 30 vehicles moved on to Horsdean Recreational Ground in Patcham.
Immediately across the A27, not a single pitch at the city’s dedicated traveller site was in use – despite Brighton and Hove City Council recently spending £33,000 on bringing it up to standard.
Yesterday afternoon, police served the unauthorised encampment with a section 61 order to immediately vacate the site.
But locals were left asking how the group entered the park in the first place.
Police claimed the travellers gained access as the site had been left unlocked after a cricket match the day before.
But Dmitry Morgan, chairman of Brighton and Hove Crescent Cricket Club, said the gate was definitely secured after the game.
Mr Morgan said: “The issue of the gate and how the travellers got the padlock on the gate unlocked is a serious concern.
“The same occurred recently down at Braypool opposite the RSPCA.
“Now Horsdean has suffered the same mystery access.”
Council lawyers had to go through the courts to evict an encampment of about 60 vehicles from Waterhall after the police refused to serve a section 61 order.
About half moved on to Horsdean Recreational Ground on Thursday night while the others left the city.
An immediate eviction notice was served yesterday afternoon, which meant that by 5.30pm all vehicles had to leave the site.
Conservative ward councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “I did warn the council that this could happen.”
He added he was pleased police had moved quickly to evict travellers from Horsdean Recration Ground.
Inspector Bill Whitehead, of Sussex Police, said the section 61 order was granted as, unlike at Waterhall, sports pitches were booked to be used this weekend. It is understood some of the evicted vehicles will be taken to the five operational pitches at the Horsdean transit site.
A police spokeswoman said: “There was no damage caused to the gate and as far as police are aware the travellers were able to move on to the site because it was unlocked.”
A council spokeswoman said its contractors were clearing Waterhall of any rubbish and other waste.