A GROUP of travellers that set up camp in a nature reserve in Poole caused “havoc” according to residents living near the site.

Three caravans and other vehicles initially arrived at Bourne Valley Nature Reserve, next to Alder Road and South Park Road, and BCP council obtained an eviction order from the court on Thursday.

However, according to concerned locals, more caravans subsequently turned up at the site.

Grass mounds designed to prevent vehicles accessing the reserve were reportedly ‘dug out’ and wooden posts allegedly cut down in order for vehicles to be driven onto the site.

Several people living nearby contacted the Echo about the situation.

One woman, who wished to stay anonymous, said she had witnessed the travellers driving across a pedestrian crossing on Alder Road to access the reserve opposite.

She said bikes had also been left “scattered” along a pedestrian path in the reserve. “They’re causing a lot of havoc,” she said on Friday.

Resident Tina Gabriel claimed the travellers had broken the lock to a gate on Friday afternoon in order to gain access to a larger area of the reserve.

She said despite the eviction order served on the initial three caravans that arrived at the site, at least seven caravans were there on Friday. It is reported the travellers left the site on Sunday morning.

“The situation left many of us feeling helpless – we live in a peaceful community and anticipate many weeks, if not months, of disruption, noise, rubbish and trespassing.

“There were big fires burning, washing was being hung on the pylon, and travellers were blatantly accessing our properties for fresh water. It is an absolute disgrace that this has been allowed,” she said.

She told the Echo she had raised concerns about the council’s use of grass mounds to protect the site when they were installed a couple of years ago.

“The council removed very thick, sturdy square stumps and replaced them with four grass mounds. I called the council at the time very concerned that they had removed a better defence for a less adequate defence. I was told that the humps were better. We have seen that the travellers have already dug up one of the mounds,” she said.

BCP Council was unavailable for comment at the weekend, but a notice on its website stated an eviction order was granted on Thursday, and bailiffs were put on standby. Bin liners and portable toilets were delivered to the site “in accordance with council policy to reduce any contamination to the land”, the council said.

It is understood the travellers left the area on Sunday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, a group of travellers in around 11 caravans and other vehicles arrived at the Creekmoor Park and Ride site.

Creekmoor councillor Judy Butt said: “Every effort has been made by ward councillors to secure the site over the years.

“It will now be the case of the usual process to give notice to the travellers to leave the site.

“With the new BCP Council in place, it is the perfect opportunity to work together to find a permanent site for the travelling community so everyone can live in harmony.”

Meanwhile, a group of travellers in around 11 caravans and two motorhomes also set up an unauthorised camp at Baiter Car Park.

An eviction order for the encampment was also obtained on Thursday.

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