Police have authorised the use of increased powers to remove travellers from a field behind a Southampton leisure centre. 

Officers authorised Section 61 powers today in response to a large gathering of travellers on the field behind Chamberlayne Leisure Centre in Weston. 

The encampment was set up this morning with around 15 vehicles, both caravans and cars, occupying the field. 

The increased powers allow officers to direct individuals to leave the land and remove any vehicles or property they have with them. 

Failure to comply is a criminal offence. 

READ MORE: Travellers set up camp at Chamberlayne Leisure Centre, Southampton

These powers can be used if communities are deprived of local amenities, or there is significant impact on the environment or disruption to the economy.

They can also be used if there is other significant disruption to the community or environment or a danger to life where there is a need to take preventative action.

Southampton East Inspector Stacey Kirby said: “We will always ensure that we balance the needs and rights of all our communities with actions that are proportionate, lawful and necessary.

“We work closely with landowners and our partners to ensure that a robust approach is taken against unauthorised encampments within legal parameters.

“Our partnership work also seeks to identify repeat locations where there has been criminality or disorder in order to target harden these sites.”