Leicester

Team tackles unauthorised camps in Leicestershire

There have been fewer complaints about travellers in Leicestershire since a special team was created to tackle the issue, officials said.

Local authorities, police and the NHS have worked together to set up a single travellers' unit.

The team has worked with 100 camps in the past year.

It has reduced the time it takes to move camps, built a database of families and has also reduced clean-up costs.

Until last year, Leicestershire and Leicester faced frequent problems with unauthorised camps, often prompting complaints from members of the public.

Common sense

Now the unit has cut the time taken to move camps breaching a code of conduct, dissuaded travellers from camping on car parks and parks and urged them to keep to groups of six caravans or fewer.

Clean-up costs have been reduced from around £80,000 a year to £10,000 a year.

Nick Rushton, the county council's cabinet member for resources, said: "We've adopted a common-sense approach, which has radically reduced the problems caused by travellers' camps and saved money that had been spent on cleaning up afterwards."

One traveller who has talked to the unit said: "Only a minority of travellers cause problems and they give the rest of us a bad name, which we don't deserve.

"We're pleased to work with council and police officers in Leicestershire to ensure that our camps don't cause any issues."

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