Traveller crime ‘mostly rumour’

A traveller encampment in Princes Parade car park, Skegness, last month.
A traveller encampment in Princes Parade car park, Skegness, last month.

A police inspector claims the arrival of hundreds of travellers in Skegness last month failed to translate into a rise in crime, despite local “panic” and rumours.

Insp Andy Morrice, Community Policing Inspector for Skegness, revealed the information at last week’s Skegness Town Council meeting, confirming that despite around 300 travellers arriving in the town just ‘20-30 incidents’ were rung in to the police in relation to their arrival - and most of these reported “rumours” rather than actual incident.

“We had approximately 20-30 incidents rung into the police with the vast majority panic messages that were not true.” he said.

He said some rang to say they’d heard pubs were going to be trashed and ‘nothing happened’.

“It was mainly rumours going around town creating panic,” he said.

Insp Morrice also confirmed in terms of actual crime, the rate did not go up the week they were here.

The travellers pitched up on the district council-run Princes Parade car park off South Parade last month.

Councillor Sue Binch put forward the question asking if the police have any powers to remove travellers. Insp Morrice confirmed that the police do not, just with the case of any other groups of people who parked on a public car park unless it met a criteria.

He said “We can’t enforce parking fees. They offered to pay the council? Whether they did or not [I don’t know].”

However some councillors at the meeting thought the police should have done more to alert the town ahead of their arrival and claimed they should have made use of special powers.

Councillor Phil Kemp thanked the inspector but said ‘they come every year and intelligence had let police down.

Insp Morrice said that groups arrive in small numbers making it harder to know where they are going, he said: “If they travel in a huge convoy they know they will get stopped.”

He said they ask them where they are going next so they can warn other towns but the travellers then go another route.

Coun Anderson said the town was ‘promised’ after problems one Christmas by the Chief Constable that intelligence would be gathered and the town given advance notice. He said this had not happened. He said: “People still fear what happened years ago.”