Travellers To Be Told To Leave Common

24 hours to move on or risk prosecution

Travellers who set up camp this morning (Monday) on Tooting Common are to be given 24 hours to move on – or run the risk of being prosecuted.

Wandsworth Council workers will visit the site this afternoon to serve the travellers with a formal notice telling them they must vacate the common or face prosecution and risk having their vehicles towed away.

Council officers and the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Parks Team will be maintaining regular visits to the Common to ensure there are no further byelaw breaches.

Camping overnight on any part of Tooting Common, without prior authorisation from the council, is a criminal offence under parks and open spaces byelaws.

The council also has powers to physically remove any person, and their belongings, including vehicles, if they do not comply with the byelaws.

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “In situations such as this the council always endeavours to act swiftly to ensure camps do not get bigger or cause any long lasting damage to the common.

“I would ask any resident who witnesses travellers establishing themselves on council-owned land to contact the town hall's 24-hour emergency response team on (020) 8871 6900.”

Occupations of other land should be reported immediately to the police.

The council provides an approved travellers site in Trewint Street, Earlsfield.

Before the group can be served with the notice to quit the common, the council is duty-bound by law to carry out welfare checks.

August 20, 2012