WORTHING Council has got to the go-ahead to take “whatever necessary steps” to remove the travellers who have been wreaking havoc in the town.
The group of travellers invaded Hill Barn and the Rotary Recreation Ground on the A27 in Worthing last week – and this afternoon (Thursday, July 21) the council went to Worthing Magistrates’ Court to secure an order for their removal.
Magistrates agreed to sign the order, which now gives the council the authority to use bailiffs to remove the travellers from their illegal camp site.
Since the travellers arrived last week, residents have flooded the Herald website with complaints. Many said they had left rubbish strewn everywhere, dug up the cricket pitches and verbally abused residents.
In court, senior legal assistant Michaela Sauerteig said the travellers began arriving on July 14, with more coming in the days after that.
She asked magistrates for “the authority for Worthing Borough Council to take whatever necessary steps to make sure that the order is complied with”.
On July 18, she told the court a notice of direction was served on the group, asking them to leave the recreation ground, but it was ignored. Then, yesterday (Wednesday, July 20), a court summons was served on them notifying them of today’s hearing, but none of them turned up it.
During the proceedings, Stuart Marshall from SMProcess, a bailiff company based in Brighton, gave evidence. He said he visited the site to serve both the notice of direction and the court summons, accompanied by three police officers.
He said: “The site was quite clean and tidy the first time I visited, but since then it has deteriorated.
“I was there last night, and again at lunchtime today, and there has been some vandalism to the showers and Worthing cricket pavilion and further rubbish has been discarded.”
The order will be served on the travellers today, and any necessary evictions will take place tomorrow (Friday, July 22). Six caravans had to be excluded from the order, because those living in them have medical needs such as pregnancy, the need for a skin graft and a badly broken leg.