Travellers moved on from Lightwoods Park in Bearwood

Published 26th April 2018

Council and police officers have again acted quickly to move on an unauthorised encampment from Lightwoods Park in Bearwood.

A group with 12 caravans and other vehicles gained access to the park just before 5pm yesterday (Wednesday 25 April).

Two wooden posts had been removed from the perimeter of the park.

Council environmental protection officers and police were on site within half an hour and the legally required needs assessment had been done by 6pm.

The group, which included around 30 children, were directed to go to the council's transit site in Smethwick by 7pm, where they could stay in return for rent and a deposit for each caravan.

They refused to use the transit site, which left the group facing arrest for breaching a section 62 notice which the police would have served just after 7pm.
 
The group vacated the park and after driving around Sandwell they had left the borough by around 9pm.

The transit site means police can use powers of arrest and groups can be banned from the borough for three months for refusing to relocate there.

The cost of dealing with unauthorised encampments in Sandwell including security, bailiffs and clean-ups fell by 96% from £252,000 in 2016/17 to £10,000 in 2017/18.

The number of unauthorised encampments in Sandwell have fallen by more than 70% from 86 in 2016/17 to 25 in 2017/18.

You can report an unauthorised encampment by:

  •     emailing unauthorised_encampments@sandwell.gov.uk
  •     calling 0121 569 3862
  •     contacting your local councillor, or
  •     calling the police on 101.