SUSSEX Police have been praised for their quick action in dealing with a group of over 40 caravans which settled in Middle Road, Shoreham, on Thursday evening.
The group of travellers were moved from Sompting Recreation Ground last Thursday and arrived in the Middle Way Recreation Ground, Shoreham at 4pm and were moved on the next day by police.
Residents were quick to complain to East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, saying it is the first time they have seen travellers on Middle Road.
A street briefing was held at 2pm on Friday where it was announced that a section 61 notice had been served and travellers were to leave in the afternoon.
Speaking at the briefing, Allan Lowe, Sussex Police, said: “Officers will remain in the area until they have all left. We cannot say where they will go after and we did not lead them to Shoreham. They have been told to leave at 2pm but it is about give and take and it may take longer than this. This issue is a national one and they have their rights and we are here to keep the peace. All traveller groups are different; some cause problems and some don’t. This group is reasonable. This is a quick resolution of a camp of this size.”
Tim Loughton, who also attended the street briefing, said: “Police have been very proactive. They have now removed this large camp twice in the space of 24 hours which is amazing. These procedures are improving enormously and the police stood up to the plate. All the online criticism around is unhelpful. I spoke to the travellers yesterday and I’m no fan of camps but the people were reasonable. The police and council were on top of this and in the past this has not been the case.”
“Hopefully, the illegal and unwelcome visitors have got the message that Adur is not a soft touch any more. Many local people also thanked the police for their swift action with the notable exception of one Sompting Parish Councillor who ridiculously claimed that police had deliberately led them to Sompting and then given them a map to Shoreham.”
Shoreham FC had to call off their Sussex County Football League match with Lingfield on Saturday because the travellers were on the club’s ground. Further damage was caused to football fixtures as the Tuesday match against Hassocks had to be moved to Hassocks as a precaution. Shoreham FC stated on twitter that they were angry and worried about the situation.
Karl Ladkin of Crown Road, Shoreham, said: “What are the council doing to prevent this? I can’t bring my two daughters here to play. I’m not against communities like this but if it encroaches on the ground, like it did with the Shoreham FC, then it is a problem. The council is not doing enough.”
Mrs Waller, of Middle Road, Shoreham, said: “I initially thought it was the fair when they turned up. I like them, they are fine. I am opposite the site and you can’t get closer than that and we are fine, I speak as I find and I don’t have problem with them.”
The travellers are believed to have left the district.