BY CALUM FRASER
Travellers who fly-tipped have been forced to leave two sites in the borough after action was taken by council and police officers.
Successful action was taken against travellers who set up illegal encampments on privately-owned sites in Grand Depot Road, Woolwich and by Victoria House in Shooters Hill Road.
Police and Greenwich council enforcement officers went to the Grand Depot Road site in Woolwich less than two hours after police used their powers, under the Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994, to order the group to leave.
Members of the council’s enviro-crime team seized a vehicle suspected of being used for fly-tipping.
The 35-strong group, with about 10 caravans and other vehicles, arrived on the site at 8pm on Sunday night and were forced to leave by noon on Tuesday.
Landowner Meyer Homes who are creating a housing scheme on the land have confirmed there is now to be a permanent security presence at the site.
A group of travellers, with about 13 caravans and extra vehicles, vacated the site in Shooters Hill Road on Monday of last week, after being warned the police power to evict them on grounds of suspected criminal activity would be used.
The group, which arrived on the previous Saturday fly-tipped the land which is next to Greenwich Free School. Owners Property Serve UK have locked the site and have been advised by the council.
The town hall have secured a three-month injunction on its 203 parks and open spaces which is in force until March.
Under the injunction, secured in the High Court, anyone who sets up a camp on any of these sites without permission will be committing contempt of court and will face arrest, possible confiscation of assets or imprisonment.
Notices of the injunction have been posted at the entrances of parks and open spaces.
Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, said: “The council takes a zero tolerance approach to all illegal encampments which is why our officers pushed strongly for the police powers to be used.
“Fly-tipping can be a major blight on our neighbourhoods and so I am proud our enforcement officers managed to gain access to the site in Grand Depot Road to identify suspected involvement in illegal waste dumping.
“This enabled police action to be taken and the travellers were given two hours to comply before officers from the police, the council along with the bailiffs moved in.
“This partnership work to move on travellers quickly shows what can be achieved if the council, police and bailiffs all work together.
“We hope it sends out a strong message to travellers that illegal encampments will not be tolerated in the borough.
“Residents and businesses share our concerns over the damage to public spaces, fly-tipping and
antisocial behaviour from these camps which have required the council to carry out costly clean-up operations amounting.”
Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Dobinson, said: “It is important that any instances of fly tipping, crime or antisocial behaviour are dealt with robustly in partnership as this has a significant impact on our residents.”