TRAVELLERS have set up an array of caravans on a Southampton recreation ground which a nearby resident said was a result of “the council failing to stop them parking there”.

However, Southampton City Council began to install permanent measures at the site yesterday to stop people from illegally setting up camp there in future, after already placing “temporary blocks to prevent further access”.

Police were present at Veracity Recreation Ground in Sholing yesterday after multiple large caravans gained access to the field, despite the concrete blocks and earth that have been placed around its edges.

Several cars were also parked next to the caravans on the field while a police van and car were parked near the scene.

One nearby resident, who walks his dog on the grounds each day, said: “I think the council are absolutely incompetent because they’ve spent thousands of pounds by making two attempts to stop them parking there and failing by bringing in 30 tonne blocks, which look awful, and realising there isn’t enough of them as the caravans just go round the side of them.

“They have also dumped earth there but I can see the tyre marks where they’ve been driven over. I could show you five places where I could fit a caravan through - have they ever heard of a tape measure?”

He added: “It is wasting council tax money - this is the third lot of caravans that have parked there in three months.”

Another nearby resident, Mr Williams, said: “It is completely unacceptable. I was driving past and saw the travellers driving in circles on the field which is damaging the grass.”

A spokesperson for Southampton City Council said: “We are aware that a group of travellers have set up an unauthorised encampment on the Veracity Ground site. The area of land is managed by a charity – Active Nation – who will instigate the legal process to remove the encampment.

“We are working actively with partners to ensure the travellers leave the site as soon as possible. The concrete blocks were a short term measure to try and prevent further access. Work is starting on site today to install permanent measures to protect the Veracity Ground from illegal encampments in the future.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment at the Veracity Ground in Southampton.”

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