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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Travellers told to quit Eton
Eton College
Travellers are camped on a field belonging to Eton
A group of travellers who set up camp on fields owned by Eton College, has been told they have to leave or face arrest.

The 60-strong encampment including cars, caravans and several dogs, took over the pasture fields at the famous public school on Tuesday.

They were served a notice to quit by the school that same afternoon.

On Thursday, Thames Valley Police said that if they did not leave within a "reasonable time", they could be arrested under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

'Site mess'

Detective Inspector John Ramsbottom said: "We have dozens of traveller encampments in the Thames Valley.

"We move them on and they move around and resettle. This is probably one that has been moved and has resettled at the school."

Vehicles belonging to the travellers are said to have churned up the grass, leaving patches of mud over the field, which is 200 yards away from the nearest Eton building.

According to one newspaper, the travellers did win one field battle when they beat pupils 3-1 in a game of football.

The school's estates manager, Adrian Harris, told BBC News Online that while there had not been particular problems for the college, local residents had complained.

"The biggest nuisance generally is clearing up afterwards.

"They do tend to leave a mess on site which is the worst aspect and there have been complaints from local residents."

He said that the school hoped the notice to quit would be enough to make the travellers leave without getting involved in a legal process.


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See also:

22 May 02 | UK Politics
31 Aug 01 | UK Education
25 Jul 01 | UK Education
02 Jun 01 | UK
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