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“Law and order is turning into a joke”, says Leader of Council as travellers invade playing fields

At least 20 caravans have descended on Three Bridges Playing Field.

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UPDATE: A section 61 notice has been authorised by Sussex Police and will be delivered for them to leave the playing fields by 9am tomorrow.

A deluge of caravans has descended on Three Bridges Playing Field, causing concern for local residents.

The group of travellers reportedly parked up in the fields yesterday evening (19 August). Police were allegedly on scene at the time when dozens of vehicles, including over 20 caravans, arrived at the area and blocked Three Bridges Road.

At least 20 caravans, plus other vehicles, can be seen parked up at Three Bridges Playing Field.

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It would appear that the travellers gained access via Three Bridges Cricket Club, where a significant number of tyre tracks lead onto the fields.

Today, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb has fired back at the town’s MP saying, he ‘could probably do with a refresher on local government powers’. Henry Smith MP took to Twitter after hearing of the travellers’ arrival.

He said: “I sincerely hope that #Crawley Borough Council will swiftly act to move on travellers who’ve occupied Jubliee Fields in Three Bridges at understandable concern to neighbourhood households. That’s what I’m calling for and is the local authority’s responsibility to local residents.”

But Peter Lamb hit back hard saying: “Hi Henry. Could you ask your mate @KatyBourne why @sussex_police are no longer willing to issue the s62 notices we need to move encampments on quickly? You could probably do with a refresher on local government powers too. Regards, Peter”

But some residents are concerned that the council are not acting quick enough. Richard replied to Henry’s Tweet, saying:

“Unlikely that @crawleybc [Crawley Borough Council] will do anything as THE COUNCIL LET THEM IN according to @sussex_police , and “it depends how long they want to stay”.”

The council’s leader was again quick to respond, stating his belief that ‘Law and order is turning into a joke’. He said:

“Actually, they cut through the security barrier and @sussex_police said they weren’t willing to hang around. The council’s view is they’ve broken and entered the property and aren’t welcome. Law and order is turning into a joke around here.”

Police arrive this morning to assess the situation.

A spokesperson from West Sussex County Council said:

“Travellers arrived on Jubilee Fields last night. We are currently liaising with Sussex Police and carrying out initial enquiries.”

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West Sussex raises alert level as more coronavirus cases are confirmed

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The current alert level in West Sussex has been escalated to “yellow” (raised local alertness) which means there is an increasing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. This is in line with the increase in cases being seen nationally. There were 116 confirmed cases in West Sussex in the last seven days.

The County Council has introduced a traffic light system (green, yellow, amber and red) to keep residents informed about the current rate of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the county.

With the rise in cases, residents are being asked to take preventative action to stop the spread of the virus.

This includes following the “Rule of Six” which means you should not meet in groups of more than six people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors.

Residents should continue to wash hands regularly, practise social distancing, wear a face mask when appropriate and get tested when they have symptoms.

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said:

“So far in West Sussex we have seen a relatively low number of cases of coronavirus. However in line with national trends there has been an increase in recent weeks of the number of people who have tested positive.

“It is important we do all we can to keep numbers as low as possible. In line with government guidance, please do not meet in groups of more than six people. It is also important to continue to wash your hands regularly, keep socially distanced, wear a face mask where appropriate and get tested when you have symptoms.

“I am very grateful to all residents for their continued efforts to ensure the county remains safe. We have done so well to control the spread of COVID-19 in the county up until now and we are keen to keep it that way to ensure we can #KeepWestSussexSafe.”

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