Riot police storm travellers’ camp after arrival of dozens of caravans forces secondary school to close
Two men were arrested yesterday after riot police were called out to disband a traveller camp illegally set up on a school playing field.
Around 27 mobile homes parked up at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on Friday evening. They broke open the gate locks and refused entreaties to move on.
After a weekend of liaising with the local authority, the headteacher was forced to order the school’s 2,000 pupils to study from home yesterday as the premises was deemed ‘not safe’.
Then at around 4pm, a volley of police cars swooped on the site, with officers carrying helmets and batons to compel the illegal encampment to move on.
Although most caravans left without protest, two men were arrested by police – who attended the area with specially trained dogs, The Sun reports.
Around 27 mobile homes parked up at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on Friday evening
A volley of police cars swooped on the site yesterday, with officers carrying helmets and batons to compel the illegal encampment to move on
One man led away by police is alleged to have threatened a photographer hours earlier, saying: ‘If you put my picture in the papers, I’ll find you. It’s a small world.’
Oakgrove School is located in a quiet suburb of the newly designated city, with householders telling local media they were fearful after the caravans arrived on Friday.
Parents were left in an anxious state throughout the weekend, waiting for updates on whether the school would be open for pupils.
The Milton Keynes Citizen reported one mother who said: ‘My husband just drove by Oakgrove and he says that it looks like there’s 100s off them (travellers) and they were driving their cars in circles on their sports field behind the school.
‘This is just disgusting. And police cannot do anything about this. They will destroy everything if they stay for a few days longer.’
Another person wrote: ‘They have broken a water main and their kids are playing in the fountain.’
Bags of fly-ridden rubbish are also reported to have been left on the playing field.
Although most caravans left without protest, two men were arrested by police – who attended the area with specially trained dogs
The headteacher of Oakgrove School (pictured) was forced to order 2,000 pupils to study from home yesterday as the premises was deemed ‘not safe’
A Thames Valley Police (TVP) spokesman said: ‘Officers have been liaising with the school and engaging with those on the encampment. A Section 60c notice to leave was issued to those in the encampment with a deadline of 11am [Monday] morning.’
After the Section 60 notice was ignored, police stated they went on site to remove the encampment.
TVP’s spokesman added: ‘Our operation to remove an illegal encampment has concluded with a number of arrests and vehicles seized.’
In all, police seized four vehicles, three caravans and made two arrests, the spokesman added.
The school remains closed today while repairs are arranged for its gate locks, which are understood to have been broken on Friday.
Conservative MP for Milton Keynes North, Ben Everitt said: ‘This is completely unacceptable, children should not lose a school day because they can’t access their site.
‘It’s disruptive to their education, but it’s also disruptive to parents and local businesses.
‘I’m pleased that the police took it really seriously.’