A group of travellers who set up camp at a school car park in Birmingham have finally been evicted – two days after they ignored a formal notice to leave.
Birmingham City Council used common law powers to evict the group from the grounds of Shenley Academy, with 20 police officers drafted in today to move them on.
Hundreds of pupils missed lessons as around 60 adults parked dozens of caravans and vehicles in the parking area on Friday afternoon.
After the last caravan had left the site, the West Midlands’ elected Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, described the travellers’ actions as “disgraceful”.
He said: “Parents have every right to be upset and outraged at the disruption to their children’s schooling.
“I welcome the tough action taken to evict the travellers.
“I recently held a summit, bringing the police and local councils from across the West Midlands around the table to respond to this ongoing issue.
“This disgraceful incident highlights why it is crucial for the summit’s recommendations to be acted upon as soon as possible.”
The school’s principal said the site would be shut to all but Year 11 and sixth form students, who would get a police escort on to the site on Monday morning.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Lucy Monk said: “I recognise that this situation is detrimental to the education of our students, and it is certainly not a decision which has been taken lightly.
“I have been working with West Midlands Police throughout the weekend as this situation has unfolded and I hope to be able to return the whole academy to a normal operation as quickly as possible.”
Speaking after the travellers had left the site, Police Sergeant Dave Cotter said an Audi car was seized from the illegal camp on Saturday for having no tax or insurance.
The vehicle is thought to have been involved in a non-stop collision in nearby Northfield prior to its seizure.
Sgt Cotter said the travellers had caused huge disruption for the school, teachers and pupils, as well as parents who had been forced to make last-minute care arrangements for children unable to come to school.
He added: ”The group ignored a notice to leave, which gave them 24 hours to move on, and in the end we were left with no option but to force them to leave the school grounds.
“Since they arrived on Friday, we’ve conducted house-to-house patrols, listened to people’s concerns and reassured them we would act swiftly.
“I hope the community can see that’s exactly what we’ve done.”