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14 June 2011, 17:25
Police in the New Forest have evicted a group of travellers who had illegally camped on Forestry Commission land at Stoney Cross.
More than 40 officers arrived at the illegal encampment soon after 7am on Tuesday, June 14, where they served Section 61 Eviction Notices on the occupants of more than 50 illegally camped caravans.
As well as the caravans, there were a similar number of towing vehicles and other vehicles that arrived on Friday June 10.
Officers stayed at the site throughout the morning to make sure the travellers complied with the eviction order that had been obtained under special measures as the land is a site of special scientific interest.
Chief Inspector for the New Forest, Lucy Hutson, said: “Police have been working closely with the Forestry Commission and liaising with the travelling group in recent days in order to resolve this matter. In this case, the incursion on protected Forestry
Commission land met all the criteria for police to serve a Section 61 eviction notice on the travelling group. Our position was strengthened by reports of the anti-social use of motor vehicles at the site and clear evidence of fly tipping, along with reports that air weapons were being used to target New Forest ponies.
“We recognise the rights of people to lead their chosen lifestyles and have a duty of care to all our communities. However, when there is evidence of offences being committed we will, when appropriate and proportionate, exercise our powers.”
She added: “If anyone witnesses people gaining access to private property for the purpose of trespassing we would ask them to notify police immediately, providing details of any offences that might have been committed along with descriptions of any offenders or vehicles they may be using."