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New powers to deal with illegal encampments

Illegal traveller encampments could face up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine under new powers given to Boston Borough Council by the High Court on Tuesday.

Boston Borough Council's, Community safety manager, Peter Hunn attended Birmingham High Court on Tuesday on behalf of Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire County Council, and was successful in obtaining an ex-parte injunction case against persons unknown from setting up any further illegal encampments within the borough of Boston. The injunction  covers all car parks owned by either Boston Borough Council or Lincolnshire County Council within the borough of Boston, any green open space owned by Boston Borough Council, all highways and roads owned by Lincolnshire County Council within the borough of Boston and all land associated within  Princess Royal Sports Arena and Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex.

From Wednesday, April 4, 2018 we joined Blackpool and Harlow councils in obtaining this borough-wide injunction. Until further notice (no end date on the injunction) anyone illegally parking either a caravan or mobile home on the areas listed above will be in breach of the injunction and will need to leave immediately, if they do not they will be in contempt of court, this carries numerous sanctions, which could include up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

It is ordered:

  1. Until further order, nobody shall park any caravan/mobile home or deposit any waste/litter at any public car park or open green space owned or maintained by the borough of Boston as identified on the schedule and delineated in red on the 3 plans attached to this order. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes the car parks and roadway at the Princess Royal Sports Arena and the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex.
  2. For the avoidance of doubt, if anyone who claims not to be aware of the terms of this order is informed of them, s/he shall immediately vacate the area and remove any caravan/mobile home from it. If s/he fails to do so, s/he may be in contempt of court.

The application for the Civil Injunction is made under Section 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, also under Section 187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 and Section 222 of the Local Government Act 1980.

Since 2015, Boston Borough Council has experienced problems with unlawful traveller encampments within the borough. The main areas that have experienced issues since 2015 with illegal encampments are The Princess Royal Sports Arena, Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex, green open spaces and car parks owned and maintained by Boston Borough Council and highways and roads within the borough of Boston owned and maintained by Lincolnshire County Council.

In the period between May 19, 2015 and January 8, 2018 there have been a total of 13 reports of unlawful encampments in the Boston Borough area.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Michael Cooper, said: "We are one of a very few council's that have applied for this injunction. Our residents expect us to take action to move illegal encampments on and this is what we will be doing. I know residents are angry that some travellers' continue to move from site to site due to the negative impact on crime and the environment. It is important that we use the powers available to us to make it clear that we won't tolerate illegal encampments anywhere in the Boston borough. We are seeking to create a safer cleaner environment for our residents."

Dave Horry, Leisure pool manager said: "The impact my team and the users of the leisure complex have experienced when on the last three occasions they have experienced illegal encampments within their grounds. Large amount of waste, nappies, human excrement, old fridges and furniture were left on site after they left. Also members of the complex had been un-willing to attend the centre and leave their vehicles in the parking area, where caravans and cars from the encampments would take up to 20 spaces and also reports of damage and thefts staff and users had experienced during the times the illegal encampments were here."

Lucy Wheatley, General manager of PRSA on behalf of PRSA and the Boston Triathlon Club, explained that they had suffered seven incidents within the last three years and talked about the impact on staff, users of the arena and visitors who had experienced unacceptable behaviour of the travellers' on site. This included verbal abuse, threatening and intimidating behaviour, dogs running loose inside and outside of the arena, including dog fouling issues, noise nuisance from loud music being played during the day, issues with illegal campers urinating and defecating within the grounds, letter and waste issues. One occasion where she was verbally threatened by a male traveller and another where a user of the arena was racially assaulted by another male member of an illegal encampment, leaving herself, staff and users in fear for their own safety.

Related documents

Size Name
[10Mb] Ex-Parte injunction Ex-Parte injunction

The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.