Council 'aware' of Travellers near roundabout

The Travellers' caravans in Arkwright Town.
The Travellers' caravans in Arkwright Town.

Council chiefs say they are 'aware' that Travellers have moved on to land near the roundabout in Arkwright Town.

The group arrived in the area on Friday.

This morning, a Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: "We are aware of the Travellers at Arkwright Town and are planning to visit the site soon."

If Gypsies or Travellers are camped on council-owned land, the council can evict them.

However, if they are camped on private land, it is usually the landowner's responsibility to evict them.

There is a difference between Gypsies and Travellers.

Gypsies are said to have their roots in India and came to Europe in the 13th century while Travellers are mainly of Irish origin.

The county council's website states: "Everyone has rights, including Gypsies, Travellers and people on whose land unauthorised camping takes place.

"Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act 1976, together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language and values, including white and black people.

"Their way of life means that they travel the country staying for various periods in different locations in order to earn a living.

"In most cases it has been a way of life for generations."

The website adds: "The police will visit all sites reported to them.

"In certain circumstances - for example, where the Gypsies or Travellers have six or more vehicles - officers may use powers under section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

"These powers will not be used as a matter of routine.

"The section gives the police powers to act but officers can choose whether to use them or not.

"Each case will be looked at on its merits having regard to the safety of the community and taking into consideration any aggravating factors of crime or disorder.

"The duty of the police is to preserve the peace and prevent crime.

"Trespass on land by itself is not a criminal offence.

"Prevention of trespass is the responsibility of the landowner, not the police.

"The police will investigate all criminal and public order offences."

Gypsies or Travellers have set up camp in the Chesterfield area on numerous occasions so far this year.