THE number of illegal camps has been reduced since a council imposed the new Public Space Protection Orders.

The new powers, which were implemented in April last year, have helped Brighton and Hove City Council combat antisocial behaviour in parks and open spaces.

It means the council has the power to issue penalty notices or serve summon orders.

This includes rough sleepers pitching tents, drinking and drug use and travellers entering parks with caravans and towing vehicles.

During 2017 the city had an increasing number of people occupying tents rather than sleeping rough.

Since April last year, the council has not needed to issue any fixed penalty notices or take any court action.

However, plenty of verbal warnings have been given and 123 warning letters were issued between April and September 2017.

Between April and September 2016, there were 40 incidents of illegal camps.

In 2017, that number has been reduced to 31 incidents.

Madeira Drive had the highest days of illegal occupation in 2016.

It had four incidents totalling 46 days. In 2017, they had three illegal camps and only four days of occupation.

Councillor Emma Daniel, chairwoman of the neighbourhoods, inclusion, communities and equalities committee, said: “These powers were introduced to help us ensure residents could use parks and open spaces having had significant complaints about antisocial behaviour and these orders are making a positive difference.

“It was never about fining people or taking court action for the sake of it.

“The fact that the order is in place can be a deterrent in itself.

“Where there are breaches of the order, each case is looked at individually, and warning letters have proved effective in quickly resolving problems.

“It is one of many tools we can use to ensure that the city is a good place to live for everybody.”

The orders cover the seafront from Black Rock to Hove Lagoon and parks and open space including Greenway, Hollingbury Park, Preston Park, St Helen’s Green, Hangleton, and Wild Park.