CROYDON Council is to turn to the courts in a bid to get tough on travellers "blighting" the borough. Currently the council issues notices and bylaws to remove trespassers but now it wants new powers to tackle illegal encampments. Last year the council had to deal with 83 unauthorised traveller sites - sometimes with the help of bailiffs being brought into assist - at a cost to the public of £128,000. It will now apply to the courts for an injunction to stop travellers responsible for repeated illegal encampments on land owned by the council or that forms part of the public highway. Injunctions can be granted indefinitely, so it is hoped the power wil provide the council with a longer term solution to the problem. The authority would also consider using injunctions to clear travellers from private land, with the owners consent. Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said: "Illegal encampments are a blight on the borough. "They cause antisocial behaviour, damage property and leave littler. "They also take up officer time and are costly to the taxpayer given the clean up expenses involved. "Not only will this policy enable us to continue dealing with unauthorised encampments quickly and robustly, but it will offer a longer term solution to stop particular sites being repeatedly used."
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