Landowners in West Yorkshire are being urged to act swiftly when travellers move on to their property.
The travellers left the park this morning, hours before a court hearing was expected. Several caravans and lorries had been parked up in the park, close to the Cloth Hall clock tower, since last Friday.
But there were bags of rubbish strewn across the park, which is a popular play area for local children.
Richard Cressall, a commercial litigation solicitor at Yorkshire law firm Gordons, said landowners should take heed from the experiences of Kirklees Council and Woodhouse Grove School, in Bradford, which have both started legal actions to remove travellers who have set up a camps on their land.
Mr Cressall said: “It is this time of year, as travellers make their way to the annual Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria, when landowners may find themselves in the same situation as Kirklees Council.
“Whilst some might sympathise with the traveller community these encampments do leave land owners in difficulty.
“Unfortunately for land owners, travellers know the system very well as they come across it every day of their lives. Despite what a traveller may say, most of the time they will not move on until they are forced to do so. Landowners find themselves caught between trying to avoid the costs of court action whilst at the same time wanting to clear the site as soon as possible.”
He added: “Finally, land owners should try and secure their land wherever possible. The cost of a gate, lock, or a fence can be much cheaper than finding yourself regularly on the receiving end of traveller occupation.”
The council is expected to get an eviction order from the court tomorrow and it will be served by bailiffs.