Anger at travellers' 'pick-and-mix' approach to law as up to 50 are evicted from sports ground (From Harrow Times)
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Anger at travellers' 'pick-and-mix' approach to law as up to 50 are evicted from Kodak Sports Ground in Harrow
Angry confrontations broke out between police and a large group of travellers as they were evicted from a sports ground car park.
Beat officers and Harrow Council workers were met with “aggressive men and snarling dogs” as they issued the group with a notice to leave the Kodak Sports Ground, in Harrow View, on Saturday.
Up to 50 travellers in around 20 caravans set up camp after allegedly breaking into the car park on Thursday evening.
Police visited on Friday and were met by what a force spokesman described as “confrontation and some angry, snarling dogs”.
The officers issued the eviction notice at midday on Saturday, with the support of Harrow Council, and the travellers reluctantly left by 3pm.
Members of the group had threatened to set up camp elsewhere in the borough but police said they followed them out of the area when they left the Kodak site.
The sports ground, which is up for redevelopment, is owned by Land Securities but the local authority said it usually intervenes as the situation raises environmental and planning issues.
A Land Securities spokeswoman said in a statement: “Travellers unlawfully gained entry to the site late on Thursday. We sought to negotiate their departure, though ultimately they refused.
"As a result we instructed the Metropolitan Police to serve a Section 61 notice to the travellers.
“They departed the site on Saturday afternoon and we have site security in place to ensure it does not occur again.”
Council leader Susan Hall was left angered by what she described as the travellers’ “pick and mix” approach to the law.
She said: “Once again the taxpayer has been left to foot the bill for getting rid of an illegal traveller camp.
“This was an operation that diverted police time and manpower away from the town centre at a time when we had thousands of extra visitors in Harrow for the Christmas fair.
“As it was, the police did a superb job in the face of aggression and then prevarication from the people who broke onto the Kodak site.
“The clearance operation was nothing to do with anyone’s background or lifestyle choice.
"It is completely unfair on the rest of Harrow residents to have a situation where one part of the community takes a pick-and-mix approach to the law, cherry-picking those bits that support their lifestyle and riding roughshod over the rest.”
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