The Hockely Heath Park has been invaded by a significant sized group of Traveller families comprising approximately 10-12 vehicles and caravans. Access to the park was obtained via a padlock having been removed from the park grass area entrance: only used by emergency services or Park maintenance contractors.
The police have been in attendance, in force, to contain the situation. The police can take no action at this time as trespass is a civil not a criminal activity. The civil action response has to be a court order which can only be obtained on Monday morning. HHPC are working directly with SMBC to ensure this is done along with getting the bailiffs in to move the Travellers on ASAP.
In discussion with the Police Inspector the advised course of action for HHPC is to allow this group on to the Park and localise them for the police to keep watch and monitor their activities rather than barricade the Park and scatter them all over the village. Whilst this is a major issue for HHPC and the residents surrounding the Park it is deemed the safest approach for all concerned.
The Police can only act if there is criminal actions taking place, for example: damage to property, abusive behaviour, theft and any other criminal activity. If any villager sees or is impacted by anything of this sort involving these Travellers then they must report it to the police immediately. These reports will all be logged and will be hugely important on Monday morning when the court injunction is served because criminal activity can be and will be acted upon.
In the mean time HHPC and SMBC advice is to ensure all your property and belongings are secure. Also do not take matters into your own hands as this can easily escalate and cause more harm and damage for both the village and the Travellers who have young children amongst them.
On advice from the Police, the Park main gates will not be locked tonight or Sunday night as they are usually at dusk. HHPC has been assured by the Police that they will be monitoring on every hour for the duration of the incursion all Park facilities, to ensure they are not broken into or vandalised.
If any Villager sees any threatening behaviour or fighting they are to call 999 immediately and the Police are alerted to respond at once.
Whilst this is completely unacceptable behaviour by the Travellers; we will be working closely with SMBC and the West Midlands Police to try and find a safe and swift conclusion to this incursion.
Hockley Heath Parish Council