A GROUP of travellers have set up camp at a popular recreation ground in Bournemouth over the weekend.

Around a dozen caravans and campervans arrived at Slades Farm in Ensbury Park on Friday evening.

It’s thought a metal chain used to secure the gate to the playing field was removed, a height restrictor was damaged and a boulder moved.

The council is due to apply for an eviction order to remove the travellers today.

Bournemouth Borough councillor Susan Phillips, ward member for Wallisdown and Winton West, said: “The officer from the town hall has been in touch with me and he said he will be at the courts first thing.”

Security teams from Bournemouth Borough Council have been positioned at the site since Saturday morning to prevent further vehicles entering the ground.

Cllr Phillips added: “Slades Farm is a beautiful area and it has been so improved over the last two to three years. The pleasure of it is being marred by the presence of the travellers.”

Local residents said the group arrived at around 10pm on Friday and entered the ground with headlights turned off.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It was like a fanfare when the lights and generator went on.

“We’ve just had a residents’ meeting and everybody is really scared.”

Her 22-year-old daughter added: “We bring the dogs up here every day but we won’t be doing that now.”

Cllr Lawrence Williams, Bournemouth council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said the incursion meant “more disruption to local residents”.

The council would be going to court to have the travellers evicted as soon as possible, he added.

It is not clear whether the travellers at Slades Farm were among those who were playing cat and mouse with council officials in Poole last week.

On Friday, a camp pulled onto Branksome's Beach Road car park, hours before an eviction notice would have forced them to leave Baiter Park.