A LARGE group of travellers has set up camp in a Southampton park.

The group, which has around fifteen caravans, are on Veracity Ground on Merryoak Road in Sholing.

Cars have also been seen driving around the field.

According to Hampshire Police, the gathering is an “unauthorised encampment”.

Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, said: “These camps are illegal. They create a mess and damage.

“Council taxpayers are having to foot the bill for repairs and cleaning. The travellers alarm local people and prevent them from using their own open spaces.

“The Labour council are allowing this. The only approach with illegality and criminality is a zero tolerant approach. If this behaviour is tolerated it just gets worse as we have seen in the last few months. The council needs to get a grip and quickly.”

Daily Echo:

Resident Tony Havlin added: “Despite promises from Southampton City Council and concrete blocks being placed upon the Veracity Recreation Ground for the fourth time and despite being evicted.

“The travellers have returned to the recreation ground. Councillors and the city council having been advised”

Cllr for Peartree, Eamonn Keogh said: “The concrete blocks were only ever a temporary measure to prevent travellers entering the ground. On August 19 we will be installing permanent measures including an earth mound and removable bollards. I can’t apologise enough. I walk my dogs there everyday and have seen what residents have to put up with. It’s not acceptable.”

A police spokesperson added: “We are aware of the unauthorised encampment on Veracity ground. It is an issue of trespass, which is a matter for the council and landowner.”

In May another group of travellers spent more than a week camped on the same green space.

Since then the city council placed large concrete blocks to prevent vehicle access to the area and any further camps.

The ground has several sporting grounds, including skateboarding facility, ball courts and football pitches.

At one point there were more than 20 caravans on the site which is popular with dog walkers.

Active Nation, who manage the area of land, was made aware that the travellers entered the Veracity Ground site.The council previously took legal action to remove an encampment.