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New policy for traveller incursions

PUBLISHED: 09:33 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:45 03 July 2010

The potentially damaging impact of illegal traveller incursions on a Norfolk coastal town is to be addressed by robust new procedures.

In what is being seen as a first for the region, Yarmouth Borough Council has drafted a traveller protocol in conjunction with police designed to prevent any repeat of the mass incursion of travellers over the millennium that left a clean-up bill running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The potentially damaging impact of illegal traveller incursions on a Norfolk coastal town is to be addressed by robust new procedures.

In what is being seen as a first for the region, Yarmouth Borough Council has drafted a traveller protocol in conjunction with police designed to prevent any repeat of the mass incursion of travellers over the millennium that left a clean-up bill running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Work on the protocol, based on three progressive states of alert - green, amber and red - began after the arrival of nearly 50 caravans on the resort's beach coach park during a busy tourist week last August.

The draft measures will be discussed by the council's scrutiny committee tonight ahead of their being formally adopted by the cabinet.

As soon as a state of amber is reached, meaning an imminent risk of incursion, a silver command will be activated involving police and borough council chiefs.

They will focus on likely targets, brief staff and deploy them to the site to put up barriers if appropriate. Local landowners will be put on alert.

A state of red, meaning an incursion has occurred, will trigger traveller, resident, business and media liaison, site supervision and policing and the preparation and serving of notices. It will also lead to the provision of waste disposal facilities.

Cabinet member Graham Plant said: “People come here on holiday and they don't expect to see people parking for free and using facilities for free.

“The incursion last August on the Beach Coach Station cost ratepayers money in lost car park revenue and the necessary clean-up and it was also a problem for the neighbouring guesthouses and hotels.”

The town's police chief, Supt Jim Smerdon, said it was intended to offer the protocol to other local authorities as best practice.

He said it was about partnership working to “deal very robustly with illegal incursions and stop them from happening”.

Supt Smerdon stressed that the town was happy to welcome travellers as long as they acted legally, for example staying at local holiday camps.


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