Travellers break in to Halesowen park

Travellers have invaded a Halesowen park, despite Dudley Council’s recent security improvements to stop them gaining access.

Just one police car responded to a 999 call when travellers broke into Hurst Green Park on Saturday by uprooting a concrete waste bin and hacking back branches.

No arrests were made and more travellers were allowed to follow them onto the park over the weekend.

There are now about 50 caravans, plus numerous vehicles, horses and ponies and the park and local people say it has been has been turned into a no go are.

A 74-year-old great grandma, who did not want to be named, said she could no longer take her grand-daughter to the play area or her dog for a walk in the park.

She said: “I’m disgusted at what has happened. It’s a beautiful park and the ground is being all churned up by the vehicles – especially with all this rain.

“People are put off from going there because of the fear of confrontation with the travellers and I am frightened for my dog’s safety.”

Dudley Council has only recently completed security improvements to stop travellers gaining access to the park after damage and mess from a series of previous invasions cost thousands of pounds.

Halesowen North councillor Hilary Bills said the travellers had broken the padlock on the barrier and sawn their way through the upper barrier to the park.

“So far the police have taken no action against the travellers’ criminal activities.”

She said the council, as landowner, had acted “swiftly” and was working to obtain a court order to repossess the park.

But Cllr Bills added: “I just don’t understand why the police are not using their powers under section 61 of the criminal code and charging these travellers with forced entry and criminal damage.

“I have written to the police and crime commissioner, the inspector and the sergeant for Halesowen asking why this has not happened. It would appear that travellers are beyond the law.”

Superintendent Phil Dolby from Dudley Police, said they were “supporting” the council.

He added: “Where offences are reported we will investigate and take appropriate action.

“We continue to monitor the situation and are liaising with both the council and the travellers.”

Halesowen North councillor Karen Shakespeare has been inundated with calls from anxious residents and rang the police herself, only to be told the council would deal with the invasion.

She said residents complained of nuisance calls from travellers knocking on their doors asking if they wanted their drives resurfacing and making a noise late at night.

Cllr Shakespeare added: “There are static sites in both Sandwell and Wolverhampton but they chose not to go there. They seem to find it more enjoyable breaking into a local park.”


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