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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
'Flexible' approach to travellers
Travellers' caravan
Around 50 travellers stayed for twelve days over the Easter period

A council working group reports on Monday on the aftermath of an illegal encampment by a travellers on a playing field in Belmont, near Durham city.

It will recommend that Durham County Council is more flexible in dealing with unauthorised sites, and works more closely with the police and other local authorities.

Around 50 travellers stayed for twelve days over the Easter period, and left what the working group described as a "significant amount of waste materials".

Residents complained that travellers seemed to be above the law, littered the playing field with rubbish and that the council did nothing.

The council says Belmont was one of four illegal camps that appeared in the county, as all the official sites were full.

And moving the travellers on only shifted the problem somewhere else.

The working party says there must be a more flexible contingency plan and a better out-of-hours response.

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