FRUSTRATIONS were this week mounting and costs spiralling after a borough-wide bid to stop travellers setting up illegal camps across Dudley was rejected.

Dudley Council applied for a borough wide possession order for a group of travellers who have been moving from site to site across Dudley since September 2015.

But the court bid was rejected last Friday – leaving council officials little option but to continue to apply for separate court orders every time the group moves to a new patch of land.

Councillor Paul Bradley, whose Amblecote ward was the latest stop-off for the group, was disappointed to hear the bid for a borough wide order had failed and said: “If we'd been successful we'd be able to evict them right away."

The council was today (Tuesday) facing the expensive task of drafting in a specialist team to clean up human waste and other rubbish left on land off Turners Lane, Brierley Hill, where caravans – previously spotted in Netherton – were most recently camped.

The authority managed to get a fast-track court order at the end of last week to move the travellers off that site but caravans were spotted a short time later on fields down the road – prompting a bid for further court action.

Cllr Bradley believes a change in the law is needed to put a stop to the ongoing problem in Dudley - as the borough-wide bid was rejected, the News understands, because the judge could not go against previous case law.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood, whose Netherton patch has been plagued by illegal traveller camps over the last 12 months, however, believes police already have the powers to evict groups as soon as they roll up.

He said: "Section 61 powers allow police to instantly evict illegal camps. Where it’s an urban park, nature reserve or damage is being done to the property - police have these powers to be able to evict without needing a court order.

Dudley News:

(Travellers pictured above at Bumble Hole - September 2015)

"Police in Staffordshire use them fairly regularly but the West Midlands hasn’t really used them to protect the local communities from these illegal camps."

He says he's written repeatedly to Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson, about the matter but the PCC said: "There is no quick and easy solution to the issue of unauthorised traveller camps. It is a complicated matter on which we should all be working together rather than trying to score cheap political points.

"I am working on a long-term workable solution – Section 61 is not the be-all-and-end-all solution Mr Wood thinks it is. Ill-thought-out use here in the West Midlands could result in travellers simply moving to Staffordshire – where Mr Wood thinks they’ve got it all solved - and then we’re all trapped in a never-ending cycle.”