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Council steps in to remove travellers from prison site

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

  • 06/02/14 Sudbury prison travellers - Uttoxeter, Uttoxeter Sudbury Gypsy camp

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ITINERANTS who set up camp outside a prison near Ashbournre months ago are set to be moved on.

Caravans have been parked on the long driveway off the A515 leading into the grounds of HMP Sudbury for several months.

Villagers had grown concerned that a dispute over who owns the land the travellers are occupying would prevent officials from serving them notice.

Confusion had arisen as people were unsure whether the land belonged to the highways authority or the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

However, after the News Telegraph contacted the authorities to establish what could be done, highways bosses have agreed to take action.

It has now come to light that the land is the responsibility of the office of Secretary of State for Transport – Ashbourne’s MP Patrick McLoughlin.

But Derbyshire County Council, which owns the A515, has now pledged to move the travellers off the site.

A county council spokesman said: “The land in question is owned by the Secretary of State for Transport.

“But we’ll be dealing with the problem on that office’s behalf in our role as the county’s highways authority.” An MoJ spokesman said the department did not own the land and therefore could not evict the itinerants.

Sudbury has become the village of choice for travellers in the Uttoxeter area during the last 12 months. In September, 11 caravans moved onto Sudbury cricket pitch.

After being evicted by police, they immediately locked themselves in the grounds of Sudbury Hall and Museum of Childhood.

After another eviction notice was served, the itinerants drove down the A515 to Marchington, where they tried to gain entry to the grounds of St Peter’s First School.

When police responded to a resident’s call alerting them to the attempted break-in, the travellers moved to the village’s Silver Lane playing fields before they were finally evicted from the area.

The travellers arrived just two months after others parked up at Dovefields Industrial Estate in July.

They also had a stint staying at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

Speaking after evicting them from Marchington, chief inspector Steve Maskrey said: “We said we’d learned lessons after dealing with the group which moved into Uttoxeter in July and I think how quickly we’ve resolved this situation is proof of that.”

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