Lytham school closes after travellers occupy grounds

AKS Lytham
Image caption Police outside AKS Lytham School which closed after travellers moved on to its land

A head teacher said he was forced to close his school following the overnight arrival of travellers.

Pupils at AKS Lytham, an independent mixed-sex school, were turned away on Monday morning because it was deemed unsafe for them to attend lessons.

But the group agreed to leave voluntarily under police escort later in the day.

The site has now been secured to allow the school and local authority to clear up the grounds, police said.

The school said it would be "open as usual" on Tuesday.

There were reports of up to six caravans on the school fields and dogs running loose.

In a social media statement, head master Mike Walton said the closure was "due to the unauthorised presence of travellers on the school grounds".

The school later updated the statement, saying the situation had been "resolved".

Ch Insp Chris Hardy, of Lancashire Police, said: "We understand the concern that this incident has caused and I hope that the swift action we have taken today will go some way to reassure people that we will do all we can to resolve these issues.

"I would like to remind people that we generally have good relationships with the travelling community and the level of disruption caused to the site is not reflective of the behaviour of the majority of travellers."

Writing underneath the school's original statement on Facebook, parent Lucy Victoria said: "Thank you for making the correct decision to close the school today. Keeping the children safe is of paramount importance."

AKS Lytham is a private school which teaches pupils aged from three to 18.

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