CONSERVATIVE MP for Poole Sir Robert Syms has said tougher legislation will be introduced to help police deal with travellers setting up illegal encampments.

It comes after police had to move on a number of travellers, including a group blocking the entrance to Ringwood Leisure Centre resulting in Ringwood School closing.

Sir Robert said: “There has been two or three consultations about what to do about travellers.

“We always seem to suffer at this time of year from travellers, in my time in parliament I have initiated debates and spoken in debates calling for more draconian powers in this area.

“The government decided there needed to be more action.

“There is a consultation out at the moment and I am told by the home secretary tougher legislation will be put in place.

“There needs to be much more draconian legislation.

“In Bournemouth and Poole they set up camp on cricket grounds, they stop people using parks and they are pretty antisocial.”

Sir Robert said there will be a new powers pill passed which will set out the measures set out in the Conservative manifesto.

The Conservative manifesto stated: “We will tackle unauthorised traveller camps.

“We will give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampments, in order to protect our communities.

“We will make intentional trespass a criminal offence and we will also give councils greater powers within the planning system.”

Sir Robert continued: “There does need to be some provision for travellers.

“We are going to buff up the powers so they can take action.

“There is a number of things that needs doing.

“We need more powers so local authorities can take action to improve things.”

As previously reported, specialist contractors were called to Poole Park to clean up after an illegal encampment left “hazardous or human waste”.

Up to 40 caravans set up camp in Poole Park which left residents “disgusted and upset”.

In Ringwood, pupils were told to stay at home after “a large number of” travellers blocked an access road to Ringwood School.