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Travellers to be moved on their way

PUBLISHED: 00:12 02 June 2002 | UPDATED: 15:27 03 March 2010

LEGAL action will be taken to evict a group of travellers camping illegally on a sensitive site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is preparing to obtain a possession order to move the travellers from Sutton Heath, near Woodbridge, where they have been camped since April 14.

LEGAL action will be taken to evict a group of travellers camping illegally on a sensitive site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is preparing to obtain a possession order to move the travellers from Sutton Heath, near Woodbridge, where they have been camped since April 14.

They are occupying a prominent position adjacent to a nature trail on the heath and they are within a few yards of a route used by dog walkers and other members of the public.

There are more than 20 people living in a variety of old buses and vehicles and a welfare audit was made of their needs before legal action could begin.

The travellers are occupying the same piece of land used for a camp for many months in 2000. An eviction was delayed at that time to allow children to finish the winter school term and find alternative accommodation before they eventually moved at the start of 2001.

Travellers have also camped on heathland near the current site and Suffolk Coastal has tried to keep them away from Sutton Heath by putting small metal stakes into the ground to stop them gaining entry.

A council spokesman said: ''We took measures to try and stop people going onto the site but access was gained. We have got a long-term solution in mind which we hope to bring in sooner rather than later.''

Hollesley Parish Council has expressed concerns about travellers at a meeting of the Deben Peninsula Parish Forum and a representative warned that people felt intimidated by travellers, especially their dogs.

A Suffolk police spokesman said the travellers' lifestyle was legitimate and that their occupation of land was a civil rather than a criminal matter.

He said police officers would take action to stop vehicles entering private land if there was a potential for public disorder but essentially it was the landowner's responsibility to recover occupation of his land. On district council land the council had to do a welfare audit before the travellers could be moved.

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