Legal action taken to remove illegal traveller camps in Skegness, Stickney, and Huttoft

Travellers camped on South Parade car park, Skegness. Photo by Rob Curtis.
Travellers camped on South Parade car park, Skegness. Photo by Rob Curtis.

Legal proceedings are underway to remove a number of illegal traveller encampments that sprung up along the coast in recent weeks.

East Lindsey and Lincolnshire councils have each instigated action to disperse the communities gathered in Skegness, Stickney, Trustville and the Coastal Country Park, following complaints from nearby residents and businesses.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for the economy Coun Colin Davie says he escalated proceedings to clear a number of encampments in the authority’s coastal wildlife reserves and will continue to take staunch action against any illegal activity.

“Everybody has a duty to obey the law and those people that are illegally camping at sites such as those in the Coastal Country Park can expect to be removed through the legal process,” he said.

“We’ve a duty to protect our coastline for our visitors and our residents who contribute so much to the success of the tourism industry,

“Although we are supportive to genuine travellers who which to live their lifestyle while obeying every aspect of the law, we will have no truck with those who are not prepared to play by the rules.”

Mandy Roberts commenting on the Standard’s Facebook page described Huttoft Car Terrace, which is situated in the country park, as looking like ‘a bomb had landed on it’.

“So much rubbish and waste that the bins couldn’t cope,” she added.

East Lindsey District Council’s Winthorpe ward-holder Coun Carl Macey also too action following complaints made about an encampment on South Parade car park, however when he contacted the authority he was told legal proceedings were already underway.

“I think there are always concerns that there’s going to be some sort of problems for car parking for the holidaymakers,” he said.

In Toynton St Peter, the parish council aided by the village’s district councillor Jim Swanson sought police action to remove a group of travellers who had set up camp on a field owned by the Joseph Clarey charity trust. A force spokesperson later said the travellers moved of their own accord.

A local horse rider Sian Lovatt said traveller encampments had caused ‘huge’ problems with their animals as she feared they could be stolen or the electric fence batteries taken.

And others said they had heard of problems caused in local pubs by the travellers.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police said Section 61 notices can be issued to but only in ‘very specific circumstances’.

The notices are only permitted when there are more than six vehicles- not including caravans - significant nuisance or criminal behaviour, unacceptable levels of damage to land or property or danger to the travellers themselves from the choice of site.