Dozens of caravans and vehicles leave Bristol area after police surround park

A group of caravans and vehicles pictured on Eastville Park.
-Credit: (Image: Paul Gillis / Reach PLC)

A group of caravans and vehicles have left Eastville Park after setting up camp sometime overnight. Avon and Somerset Police confirmed this afternoon (Friday, June 7) that the vehicles have left the Bristol area following their removal.

It is believed to be the same group of vehicles that arrived at Horfield Common on Wednesday night (June 6). Police are investigating a number of reports of vandalism and anti-social behaviour as a result of the encampment.

It had also resulted in The Ardagh and The Café on the Common closing due to staff and security being unable “to continue to provide a safe environment for members of the public”. The vehicles had originally come from an encampment on Ladies Mile on The Downs earlier in the week.

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READ MORE: Police investigating vandalism and anti-social behaviour on Horfield Common

Officers attended Eastville Park this morning in order to “engage” with the group of vehicles, following on from their eviction from Horfield Common. Around 15 riot vans and police dogs were at the scene to provide back-up.

Police were seen around the park to try and evict the caravans and other vehicles.
Police were seen around the park to try and evict the caravans and other vehicles. -Credit:Paul Gillis / Reach PLC

Police surrounded the park in order to try and evict the vehicles that were inside the park, and this afternoon (Friday), the caravans and other vehicles left the park and the Bristol area. Bristol City Council ’s Gypsy Roma Traveller team also attended the park to help move the vehicles along.

A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset Police said: “Using our powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, yesterday (Thursday 6 May), we issued the encampment at Horfield Common a notice to leave as they were trespassing and causing significant disruption. We believe the same group then moved to Eastville Park, off Fishponds Road, Eastville and we engaged with them, alongside Bristol City Council. They have since moved on and out of the Bristol area."

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “Due to evidence of high levels of antisocial behaviour and criminality associated with the site, along with the major impact that it is having on local businesses and residents, the police made a decision to move the encampment on Horfield Common using the powers available to them.

“This process began yesterday and will continue throughout the day today. We are aware that some of the group have now moved to Eastville Park, and the police will also be working to move the group on from this area as well.

“Using police powers to remove an encampment is very unusual, but the impact on the local community has driven the decision to take immediate action. The council’s Gypsy Roma Traveller team is working closely with the police and will be supporting the eviction. The council will also clear up any mess that is left behind by the group.

“The vast majority of Gypsy Travellers who pass through the city are law abiding and respectful citizens and operations such as this are exceptionally rare.”

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