OFFICIALS have served a court summons on the travellers currently occupying Hamworthy Park in Poole.

There are eight caravans and one motorhome at the makeshift site, and Borough of Poole will go back to court this afternoon as part of the legal process to have them removed.

Poole council’s regulatory services manager Peter Haikin said: “If an eviction order is granted, the travellers will have 24 hours to vacate the site.

“We are continuing to gather the evidence required to start the legal process for the unauthorised encampment at Turlin Moor Recreation Ground. In the meantime we can confirm that one caravan has now left this site.”

This leaves two caravans and one motorhome on the recreation ground car park.

Both sets of travellers moved on to their respective sites on Sunday evening, prompting criticism from residents at the ease they accessed the open spaces.

However, Cllr Xena Dion, Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, said: “We have this every year and we manage it every year.

“There are a small number of residents are extremely angry about the travellers being here, but the facts of the matter are that we manage the sites very well, with minimum violence and confrontation.

“They are real people and real human beings and we need to treat them courteously, as they always move on peacefully when asked to do so.”

Describing the issue as an “emotive” one, county crime commissioner Martyn Underhill explained: “Agencies are tied by the law Parliament sets, and that is why I have long campaigned across Dorset for every authority to have temporary stopping sites.

“These give the police more power to move on unauthorised sites. I have met with Government twice this year and I am working with local MPs to lobby for a review of the law.”

Meanwhile, Hamworthy ward councillor and deputy Borough of Poole leader, Cllr Mike White, said of the attempt to find a temporary transit site over the winter: “We gave it our best shot.”

Two sites at Marshes End and Oakdale went to the planning committee and were thrown out.

Cllr White added: “People felt for various reasons they weren’t quite the right sites. I do not think we will find a suitable temporary or transit site anywhere in Poole.

“We have to work with our neighbours and we need a change in government legislation.”

The councillor insists Borough of Poole will continue pressing for a change in the law so that a joint site with Bournemouth and Dorset would be possible.