About 40 Travellers’ caravans and 15 vehicles are camped in a field between Market Harborough and Lubenham as part of a Christian mission, council officials said this afternoon.
They appeared at the site, near the Archway House natural health centre in Lubenham Hill, at some point over the weekend.
The Mail spoke to Leicestershire County Council today (Monday) to seek clarification on the site.
The county council is the lead authority for the Leicestershire and Leicester City Multi Agency Travellers Unit
Mat Bagley, the unit’s manager, said: “We are aware that people are gathering at Lubenham Hill as part of a Christian mission.
“The land is privately owned and as far as we are aware at present the landowner has given permission for the area to be used.
“They are expected to stay for a week and we will continue to monitor the situation along with Harborough District Council and the police.
The Christian mission is being organised by the Life and Light Pentecostal Church, the county council said.
The Life and Light Pentecostal Church is “an evangelical church driving a rapid rise of Pentecostal Christianity among gypsies in the UK since the 1980s”, according to a Huffington Post feature last year on one of the church’s founders, Romany gypsy Jackie Boyd.
Light and Life followers “straddle both the mystic and the modern”, according to the feature, and “believe in miracles, carry out full-immersion baptism and follow the bible’s words literally”.
Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
There are Life and Light missions based in Leicester, Newark, Nottinghamshire, and Peterborough, states the www.lightandlifegypsychurch.com website.
The Multi Agency Travellers Unit unit was formed in June 2009 and comprises officers from Leicester City Council, the county council and a specialist police officer.
Some of the aims of the unit are to “minimise conflict between the settled, business and Traveller communities by information and education” and to “protect the rights of those in the Traveller and settled communities to enhance quality of life”.
The unit also monitors the provision of legitimate, acceptable places for Travellers to stay and aims to “reduce anti-social and unacceptable behaviour associated with encampments”.