AN unauthorised travellers’ camp has set itself up on Kinson Common in Bournemouth – close to a children’s play area.

At around 7pm on Tuesday night, around six caravans, along with other vehicles, got on to the common, off Poole Lane.

It is thought that the gate to the site was forced open. Security officers have now been put in place around the area of the camp and police visited today.

Andy McDonald, parks manager, said: “Our council officers are aware of the recent unauthorised encampment at Kinson Common. They are doing all they can, taking the necessary legal action to move them on as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, our council officers are visiting the site on a regular basis to monitor the situation.”

Cllr Ron Whittaker, who lives near to the site, said: “They are right by the children’s play area.

“The parents are scared stiff and children going to school are being told not to go near there by the parents.

“The police should have the powers to move them on, as it affects the safety of children.

“In the evenings when they come out of school they like to play on the swings.

“You can hear them late at night shouting and bawling, dogs barking, and it’s quite frightening.

“It’s a nature reserve and you can’t do any camping on a nature reserve. It’s very evident that they’ve forced the gate open.”

One resident, Tim, said: “It’s just not on. I hope they won’t be here next week when the summer holidays start as my children will want to come and play up here. I’ve got two young grand children staying with me too and they love going to the park.”

Two female dog walkers who didn’t want to give their names said it was disgusting that the travellers had moved onto a children’s play area: “They act as if they own the place. One of them told me off for walking my dog there last night.”

In Poole, residents were distraught when they saw a traveller convoy attempting to join a group already camped at Fleetsbridge.

Christopher Crescent residents, who already have an encampment of four caravans and a motorhome at the back of their homes, near the Staple store, were horrified when more rolled up at lunchtime on Tuesday.

“They only came because the others were already there,” said Paula Holloway.

“They drove down the pavement to get round the back, it was gridlock.”

She said it was a traveller already on the site who turned the others away. However some vehicles are parked right up against the gardens of elderly residents.

And she took exception to a comment from Borough of Poole that the encampment was “having no detrimental effect on the local community”.

“It’s horrendous,” she said.

“They shouldn’t be there.”

The site is being monitored by council officers as is a group of four caravans at a Baiter car park.

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