THE leader of Bournemouth council says the authority’s “robust” methods of dealing with unauthorised traveller camps is working, despite a central town car park having to be shut at the weekend.

The Bath Road South car park was closed to the public, with security guards at the entrance, after three travellers’ vehicles arrived at around 10.20am on Saturday.

The closure was to prevent other vehicles arriving, but by yesterday morning only one motorhome remained and the car park was reopened.

But it meant that one of the most-used car parks in town was closed on a busy, warm Saturday.

Other sites in the borough were also locked down as it became clear that more vehicles could be on their way.

Council leader John Beesley said yesterday it was unfortunate that residents and visitors to the town had been temporarily inconvenienced, but stressed that the authority’s “robust” policy for dealing with incursions has been successful.

“We will be taking court action first thing on Monday morning provided they are still there,” he said.

“Whenever we get incursions we use extremely close surveillance and experience shows they tend to move on fairly quickly as a result.

“Our strategy for dealing with travellers, since we put extra resources in three years ago, has been hugely successful and we have a very effective intelligence network.

“Our team has applied the strategy consistently and it has served the town very well, as I think it has on this occasion.”

Security was also set up at other public sites around the borough, including Kings Park, to prevent travellers from gaining access.

Dorset Police were called at 10.18am on Saturday when the three vehicles were first spotted entering the car park.

A spokesman said the council had closed off access and officers then left the scene.

On Friday, three motor homes made camp on the cliff top behind the Bournemouth International Centre, gaining access to the private road because of an insecure barrier.

One of that group told the Daily Echo that they planned to continue on to Devon.

The council said it had begun the legal process to remove them.

Due to the nature of the comments on this story, the facility has now been closed.