Travellers forced to quit Wandsworth Common within hours

Published: Thursday 23rd April 15

A group of travellers who drove caravans onto Wandsworth Common yesterday (Wednesday) in a bid to set up an unlawful camp, were moved on within only a few hours after legal warnings from Wandsworth Council.

This caravan was removed from the common after a few hours

Three caravans appeared on the common near the junction of Trinity Road and Earlsfield Road yesterday afternoon at about 3pm.

Although the caravans were parked on the grass the owners and their vehicles were nowhere to be seen.

They eventually returned to the common at around 9pm last night along with more caravans and other assorted vehicles. 

But before these new arrivals could drive onto the common and join the camp officers from the Wandsworth parks police, who had been waiting for their return, intervened, warning them that they would be committing an offence and would be prosecuted and that their vehicles and caravans would be towed away. 

Faced with this legal warning the entire group departed and by 9.15pm the common was free of all vehicles and caravans.

Camping overnight on the common without prior authorisation from the council, is a criminal offence under Wandsworth’s parks and open spaces byelaws. As well as prosecuting those who breach the byelaws, the council has powers to physically remove any person, and their belongings, including vehicles, if they do not comply.

Insp Steve Biggs of the parks police service said: “This was a very good outcome. We were able to nip this particular problem in the bud and ensure that the common remains free of unauthorised vehicles and people setting up unlawful camps. 

“We made sure that we were able to prevent other vehicles and caravans from joining this group and ensure the quick departure of those who had arrived in the middle of the afternoon.”

Residents who witness any incident involving travellers on council-owned land should contact the town hall's emergency response team on (020) 8871 6900. This is a 24 hour service. Occupations of other land should be reported immediately to the police.

The council provides an approved travellers site in Trewint Street, Earlsfield. 

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Recent comments

Glad that this was reported factually without the flagrantly racist overtones of previous reports. The law should be enforced and, mostly, obeyed. Areas with suitable legal sites simply don't have these problems though - what are Wandsworth doing to fulfil their legal obligation to provide legal sites? I would hate to live in a caravan, but some people would equally hate to live in a fixed house. Each to their own. With legal options we won't just shift the problem from place to place, but solve it. The health / education outcomes for travellers are appalling and racist abuse towards them is endemic. These are families, with kids and elders to care for. Just saying 'go away' is childish, cruel and frankly, rather dim.
Simon Shields

24 April 2015

Congratulations on resolving this issue so speedily.
Robert Newell CVO

24 April 2015

There are 3 or 4 caravans parked up along Windmill Drive close to Mount Pond. I think this area is under Lambeth council control?

24 April 2015

Congratulations to the Parks Police.
Amanda Palengat

24 April 2015

Which road is that? Keen to check them out.

24 April 2015

Unfortunately I think they have now moved onto the road running through Clspham Common ......

24 April 2015