Travellers Leave Common After Warnings

Trying immediately to move on to Wandsworth Common

Travellers who broke byelaws by setting up camp on Tooting Common have abandoned the site after the council warned they would face legal proceedings should they remain.

The travellers, who arrived on the Common yesterday and left this morning, subsequently attempted to establish themselves on Wandsworth Common but council officers were swift to stop them.

Officers reminded them they would continue to run the risk of being prosecuted and face having their vehicles towed away if they persisted in breaking the law.

Environment spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said:
“I am pleased that the fast and firm action we took has resulted in these travellers leaving and ensured no real damage was caused to either Common.
I would also like to praise the quick-thinking officers who acted so promptly to prevent the group from attempting to set up camp on another of our open spaces.”

The council has arranged for the rubbish left behind by the travellers on Tooting Common to be cleared away.

Camping overnight on any part of Tooting or Wandsworth Commons, 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.

Any resident who witnesses travellers establishing themselves on council-owned land should 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.

August 21, 2012