Police in Rugby can now arrest anyone setting up illegal encampments on council land in the borough

Those setting up illegal encampments on council land in the borough can now be immediately arrested after Rugby council secured new legal powers.

Wednesday, 5th September 2018, 9:26 am
Updated Thursday, 6th September 2018, 3:32 am
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On Friday, August 31, Rugby Borough Council successfully applied for an injunction at Nuneaton County Court - with the judge recognising the level of disruption the encampments have caused. The injunction, which came into force this week, means individuals or groups who set up an unauthorised camp on borough council land can be immediately arrested for contempt of court - with sentences ranging from a fine to imprisonment.The council said a string of illegal encampments over the summer prompted it to seek the injunction. A spokesperson said: "The council has dealt with more than a dozen camps in 2018, with Whitehall Recreation Ground, Brownsover's Criss Cross Park and Whinfield Recreation Ground all being targeted."On each occasion, the council has been forced to follow the legal process to move the camp off the land - first serving a notice on the camp of the council's intention to evict before securing a court date in order to apply to magistrates for an eviction order."The council also has a legal duty to check the health, welfare and education of children at an encampment, while also complying fully with the Human Rights Act."Deputy district judge Stephen Wrigley was satisfied that both the frequency of the encampments and the level of disruption and anti-social behaviour caused by the camps warranted granting the injunction. Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "We have been acutely aware of the disruption caused by illegal encampments in many parts of the borough over the summer, and I'd personally like to thank our residents who have shown patience and understanding in often testing circumstances."It's no easy task to secure an injunction such as this and many councils have failed to convince judges of the need to be granted these powers."It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of the council's legal officers and environmental protection team that we were able to put forward such a strong case in court."To report an illegal encampment in the borough, visit www.rugby.gov.uk/illegalencampment or call (01788) 533533.