Police called in as travellers set up camps in Sherborne and Blandford
TRAVELLERS have caused disruption and damage after setting up illegal camps in Sherborne and Blandford.
Sherborne Cricket Club was forced to cancel a match on Sunday after around a dozen caravans, along with 4x4 vehicles and pick-up trucks, moved on to the Terrace Playing Fields on the A352 by Sherborne Hill last Thursday. Football and rugby matches were also cancelled.
The travellers are thought to be those moved on from Dorchester last week.
According to Sherborne Town Council, which owns the site, the vehicles have caused considerable damage to the playing fields.
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"Every gate is locked and chained but they managed to break in. It has caused significant disruption - we have only been able to view from afar but the vehicles have churned up the field," a town council spokesman said.
"The town council has been working closely with Dorset Police and Dorset County Council's traveller liaison officer with regard to removing the travellers from the site. It is our assumption that they are on their way to the Great Dorset Steam Fair."
Police issued the travellers with a section 62 eviction notice on Wednesday morning.
In Blandford, 15 caravans and an equal numbers of cars and vans moved on to the Asda development site, currently owned by Hospital Metalcraft, off Shaftesbury Road last Wednesday.
District councillor Tony Harrocks said: "They have entered illegally by cutting a padlock. The big concern is what they will leave behind them."
Travellers moved on from the Hospital Metalcraft site on Wednesday.
A temporary authorised camp at Tarrant Hinton opened on Wednesday – a week before the start of the Great Dorset Steam Fair. The camp has capacity for 100 travellers.
A spokesman for Dorset County Council said: "Dorset has no transit site provision for the remainder of the year, but the issue is due to be debated by the County Council's Environment Overview Committee on 1st October."
A spokesman for North Dorset District Council said authorities across the county were working together to find possible sites for authorised traveller camps.
"It is a hard job but we are trying to identify places to site them," he said.