City coun­cil­lor and MP de­mand pun­ish­ment for cul­prits who left torched car and rub­bish on sports play­ing field in Peter­bor­ough

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - Shailesh Vara MP

‘Such be­hav­iour by the or­di­nary cit­i­zen would be com­pletely unacceptable. The same rules should ap­ply to trav­ellers’

Trav­ellers who left a trail of de­struc­tion af­ter set­ting up camp on play­ing fields should be pun­ished a coun­cil­lor and an MP have said. The trav­ellers moved car­a­vans onto the land at Thurn­ing Av­enue play­ing fields last week - and when they left on Sun­day piles of rub­bish, waste and even a burnt out car were left be­hind.

The park had to be closed to chil­dren and dog walk­ers while the mess was cleared away.

Peter­bor­ough city coun­cil­lor Chris Harper, who rep­re­sents the Stan­ground south ward, and is also on the board of the nearby Stan­ground Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, and North West Cam­bridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara, have now called for the cul­prits to be pun­ished - and ac­tion to be­taken to pre­vent sim­i­lar of­fences hap­pen­ing again.

Cllr Harper said: “I’m dis­gusted by the state the place has been left in.

“A cer­tain group of trav­ellers are giv­ing the rest of the trav­ellers a bad name.

“I was called on Sun­day by res­i­dents who said the trav­ellers had left. I went over and had a look, and we got a lock on the gate to se­cure it. “Dur­ing all the time I have been a coun­cil­lor I can’t re­mem­ber any­thing like this be­fore. It is heart­break­ing to see the field in this state. There was a woman sob­bing when she saw it.

“I have con­tacted Shailesh Vara MP, the po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner, and the leader of the coun­cil, ask­ing for a meet­ing to re­view our plans. There are pow­ers avail­able to en­sure anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and il­le­gal en­camp­ments don’t hap­pen.”

Mr Vara said: “I, like the vast ma­jor­ity of the law abid­ing pub­lic, am ap­palled by this.

“There are laws to deal with such sit­u­a­tions and I will be work­ing with Cllr Chris Harper, the coun­cil and the po­lice to see how we can best move for­ward.

“Such be­hav­iour by the or­di­nary cit­i­zen would be com­pletely unacceptable. The same rules should ap­ply to trav­ellers.”

Chief In­spec­tor Rob Hill from the Safer Peter­bor­ough pre­ven­tion and en­force­ment ser­vice said: “The pre­ven­tion and en­force­ment ser­vice was cre­ated to al­low of­fi­cers from the coun­cil, po­lice and fire ser­vice to work to­gether un­der one team to tackle those is­sues that im­pact on the qual­ity of life of our res­i­dents, such as fly­tip­ping and unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments.

“We use all the pow­ers that are cur­rently avail­able to re­move unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments as quickly as pos­si­ble. Once this has taken place we take mea­sures to pre­vent ac- cess to de­ter fu­ture un­law­ful en­camp­ments and look to gather ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute in­di­vid­u­als who com­mit crim­i­nal of­fences. How­ever, to be able to do this we must be able to iden­tify a spe­cific in­di­vid­ual.

“We want to re­duce the num­ber of unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments in the city, so we have tasked a cross-party work­ing group with look­ing at whether there is a need for fur­ther emer­gency stop­ping places across the city.

“In ad­di­tion, a re­port de­tail­ing a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions to en­able us to bet­ter tackle fly­tip­ping will go be­fore the coun­cil’s scru­tiny com­mit­tee in Septem­ber, fol­low­ing which a city-wide ac­tion plan will be drawn up.

“Both these i ssues are caused by a small mi­nor­ity of res­i­dents and in­di­vid­u­als, how­ever the im­pact is felt through­out our com­mu­ni­ties.”

‘It is heart­break- ing to see the field in this state.’ Cllr Chris Harper ‘Such be­hav­iour by the or­di­nary cit­i­zen would be com­pletely unacceptable’

How the site was left on Sun­day night

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