A TEST Valley community leader has claimed shards of glass have been cleared after a group of travellers fled a recreation ground on Friday, July 3.

As reported, Hampshire police were alerted to the unauthorised encampment on Friday, June 26, after caravans arrived at Nursling Recreation Ground, Nursling Street.

Now, deputy leader of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), Cllr Nick Adams-King is calling for a plan to be created for parish councils and private landowners, explaining who to contact if travellers arrive on their land.

This could help remove encampments more quickly after Nursling and Rownhams Parish Council took a week to move the travellers on.

READ: Traveller encampment sparks call for criminal trespass law >>> 

Mr Adams-King said: "The travellers left on Friday at 7.15pm after they had been served a notice to quit by the bailiffs at lunchtime [that day].

"They left a significant amount of rubbish and they emptied their waste tanks on the field, so some of it will have to be professionally cleaned.

"There were at least eight locations where broken glass had been left on the recreation ground, so we advised people to not walk their dogs there."

Andover Advertiser: Cllr Nick Adams-KingCllr Nick Adams-King

He added: "I am happy they are gone, but people are angry at how they have left the place and their behaviour while they were there.

"Test Valley Borough Council moved the travellers at Romsey Rapids on within 48 hours, because they have the contacts and procedures in place to deal with the situation.

"Test Valley council cannot act on behalf of parish councils when travellers come onto their land, but we can share the borough's contacts and experience with the parishes and even private landowners.

"Having an 'off the shelf' plan, explaining who to contact and what to do if there is an incursion on non-borough land would help immeasurably so travellers can be moved on as quickly as possible."

READ: Community leader claims '40 bags of rubbish' were cleared after travellers leave rugby pitch >>> 

Chairman of Nursling and Rownhams Parish Council, Cllr Phil Bundy, added they are planning to seal off off the recreation ground with "blocks and large stones" so travellers cannot access the land again.

Mr Bundy added he contacted MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes, on Saturday, June 27 in an effort to make trespassing a criminal rather than a civil offence.

Raising the issue in the House of Commons, Ms Nokes said: "Since the weekend [of June 27 and 28], the parish of Nursling and Rownhams has seen acts of vandalism and revoltingly as one of my constituents emailed me this morning, defecation in public places.

"This is going to cost the parish council thousands and thousands of pounds in the clean up, which is absolutely essential, not only to replace security fencing around the recreation ground but also to make sure that it is safe for children families to use in the future."

Andover Advertiser: MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline NokesMP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes

Ms Nokes asked leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg to consider giving time for a debate on whether trespass should be a criminal offence.

READ: Community leaders condemn travellers for camping on recreation ground >>> 

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "That type of trespass is absolutely revolting and the commitment to make trespass a criminal offence was in the 2019 manifesto and the government intends to deliver on that particular commitment.

"I understand the home office has recently concluded a consultation on this matter and the government will publish a response in due course and this will give the House members the opportunity to discuss this issue in greater depth but the government is on the same side as my right honourable friend."

When asked how Ms Nokes felt after the travellers had moved on from Nursling, she said: "It will of course be a relief for Nursling residents that the Parish Council can begin to repair some of the damage caused last week. 

"I raised this issue in Parliament at the request of Cllr Bundy and was reassured by the response from the Leader of the House that this is an issue he takes very seriously. 

"I look forward to the promised legislative changes."

A spokesperson from Hampshire police confirmed the travellers left on Friday, July 3.