COUNCIL chiefs have come under fire for not clamping down on illegally dumped waste that appeared in Augusta Park last month.

Rubbish at the site is believed to have been left by a traveller encampment, and angry residents have since taken to social media to voice their annoyance at the situation.

The land is owned by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), however the authority has said that although it shares residents’ frustrations, prosecutions for fly-tipping remain unlikely due to issues in gathering evidence.

TVBC environmental portfolio holder Councillor Alison Johnston said: “The council will always investigate incidents of fly-tipping and we are currently examining waste that has been dumped on Smannell Green.

“We will always do all we can to track down those responsible and this case is no different.

“However, any evidence we gather must be strong enough to stand up in court and without this we will not be in a position to prosecute.

“This can prove incredibly frustrating when we are certain we know who the perpetrator is but we are unable to prove it.”

The waste was found at the site on Saturday, May 25 — one day after the travellers had moved on to a nearby park in Roman Way.

They had arrived at Augusta Park on Wednesday, May 22, at which point residents contacted local housing association Taylor Wimpey and Romans ward borough councillors Tracey Preston and Nick Matthews.

Cllr Matthews had visited the site to speak with the travellers after witnessing a car drive onto the grass from the roundabout at Smannell Road.

“I myself visited the travellers,” he said, “I confronted them and received some abuse, and we exchanged some unpleasantries — mainly because I was angry at the risk to children with them driving over a green area so close to a children’s park.”

Cllr Matthews says he is aware that rubbish was later left behind but is unable to state who was responsible.

He added: “This is often one of the difficulties we have in prosecuting, as our legal system does not allow us to prosecute everyone in a group or the vicinity, simply because we don’t know which one it was.”