Travellers set up camp in a car park on the edge of Harborough
They have been warned by police that they have to get up and leave by 6pm tomorrow night (Thursday)
A large group of travellers have moved in and set up a unauthorised camp in a car park on the edge of Market Harborough.
Travellers pitched up with more than a dozen caravans in the huge car park shared by Harborough Football Club and Market Harborough Rugby Club on Northampton Road.
They have been warned by police that they have to get up and leave by 6pm tomorrow night (Thursday).
Officers have acted after talking to Leicestershire County Council’s specialist Multi-Agency Travellers Unit.
A police spokeswoman told the Harborough Mail: “Officers are aware of an unauthorised encampment that has been set up at a sports ground in Northampton Road, Market Harborough.
“The encampment was reported to have been set up yesterday and officers have been to speak to the group who have set up camp in the area today.”
She added: “Officers have also consulted with the Multi-Agency Travellers Unit and a notice has been served for the group to leave the site by 6pm tomorrow (Thursday).”
The incident comes after South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa and Harborough MP Neil O’Brien both backed a tough new crackdown on illegal traveller camps earlier this month.
Alberto said local authorities have had to struggle to tackle these sites for far too long – causing “significant damage” to Harborough’s vulnerable rural communities.
The Government is warning that offenders could be fined up to £2,500 or jailed for up to three months.
Alberto said: “I very much welcome these new proposals outlined by the Home Secretary in order to tackle illegal encampments.
“This has been a long-standing issue of concern for rural communities in South Leicestershire for some time.
“So I am delighted to see the Government taking firm and decisive action in giving police the powers they need to deal with these encampments in a firm and timely manner.”
Harborough MP Neil O’Brien said: “Powers to remove trespassers on land will also be strengthened.
“The new measures proposed are very welcome.
“It’s important to say that the vast majority of travelling communities live in caravans on authorised traveller sites and are law-abiding citizens.
“But for those who choose not to follow the law, these stronger measures will hopefully assist the authorities in dealing with this – and the negative image of the travelling communities they convey,” said Neil.