From the Plymouth Herald

TRAVELLERS have illegally pitched up at Central Park – for the second time within two months.

Five caravans as well as 4x4s and several cars gained access to green space near Goals off Outland Road on Friday.

Cllr Martin Leaves, who represents Peverell ward, has asked council officers to investigate whether gates to the area were left unsecure.

He said: “This is the third time within a couple of years that we have seen Travellers gaining access to the green space of Central Park. Almost every time the gates have been left open.

“It is the same problem this time – the barrier located at the top of Barn Park Lane was left open, allowing the Travellers to get on to Loves Field.

“It is not good enough; gates are put in place to keep Travellers off the park, which once again will leave a mess for the city tax payer to clean up.”

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said they had been made aware of the unauthorised encampment and were undertaking the required welfare checks.

She said: “We are following our normal procedures for dealing with unauthorised encampments.”

The council deals with around 25 illegal encampments every year, partly because there are no organised transit sites in Plymouth.

Strict legal guidelines mean each unauthorised encampment can take between ten days and four weeks to evict.

The only permanent Gypsy and Traveller camp in the city is at The Ride, next to Chelson Meadow.

Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council was unavailable for comment last night.