THE public could have a role in dealing with travellers who set up unlawful camps in the area, a Worthing councillor suggested.
At a meeting of the joint strategic committee of Worthing and Adur councils members spoke of the difficulties in keeping travellers from setting up campsites in the area.
The meeting follows travellers recently setting up camps at The Gallops at Bost Hill, Findon Valley, Hillbarn Recreation Ground, and Northbrook Recreation Ground, as well as in Lancing and Shoreham.
Marine ward councillor Tom Wye said he had visited all three camp sites in Worthing and said they had been turned into “rubbish tips”.
Mr Wye said he felt the community should have more of a role in dealing with travellers.
He added: “Police can’t do it, the council can’t do it, so let’s get the volunteer section involved.”
However, Adur councillor for the Cokeham ward, David Simmons, said although he was in favour of “more positive action” he was concerned about “vigilantism” if the public helped deal with travellers.
Currently, councils can apply to magistrates’ courts for an order evicting travellers from land within their district or borough, but this can only made against individuals identified by name or vehicle details.
Alternatively, land owners can take civil action.
Police can evict travellers immediately without a court order, but only if they consider there to be a risk of “significant harm to the community”.
For more comments from the meeting see this week’s Worthing Herald (Thursday, August 2, edition).
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