Police need to take swifter action on travellers in Luton, say Lib Dems

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'Those who behave anti-socially need to be dealt with decisively'

Liberal Democrat councillors in Luton are calling for more action to be taken against travellers.

The move comes after several high profile traveller camps were set up in the town in recent months.

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Councillor David Franks, Liberal Democrat, leader of the opposition, said: "Over the last few months Luton has seen major encampments on Pope’s Meadow, Crawley Green Sports Club, Memorial Park, Manor Road Recreation Ground, and Ashcroft Park. In each case it has taken a week or thereabouts for them to be moved on and each time they have simply moved to another park nearby.

A recent traveller encampment at Crawley GreenA recent traveller encampment at Crawley Green
A recent traveller encampment at Crawley Green

“Not all traveller behaviour is seriously anti-social and not all travellers leave behind them a trail of damage and destruction, those who do need to be dealt with decisively and swiftly.

“The recent traveller damage to football pitches will cost thousands of pounds to repair, will have to be paid for by the volunteer supported sports club and may not be achievable in time for use in the current season. Elsewhere, broken glass and other rubbish has had to be removed by the council staff who should be thanked for their efforts but who should never be asked to do such unpleasant and health risking tasks.”

“It is generally known that the police do have powers to move on seriously troublesome travellers much more quickly than the council is allowed to, so I have asked the council cChief executive to invite Bedfordshire PCC Festus Akinbusoye to come to the Town Hall to explain what powers are available to the police and, more importantly, what he intends to do.

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“Meanwhile, much of the rubbish people pay travellers to take away ends up fly-tipped and is then removed at taxpayers’ expense by the council. The council should be making very public statements discouraging residents from giving travellers rubbish removal jobs and other paid work. It’s also worth reminding people that if they pay someone who does not have a licence to take away their rubbish they themselves could be on the receiving end of a £400 fine.”

A Luton Council spokesman said the council does send out regular reminders to residents explaining it is important to make thorough checks when using services of trades people and particularly beware of unsolicited offers of paid work, especially when those offering the work will only accept cash.

Some trades, such as rubbish removal carriers, must be registered and able to present you with a licence for their work. Failure to verify this and other simple measures, may make you liable should any items disposed of in this way, end up being illegally disposed of. For further information see https://m.luton.gov.uk/Page/Show/Environment/environmentalcrime/Pages/Household-waste-disposal.aspx?redirectToMobile=TrueThe Police and Crime Commissioner has been approached for a comment.