1. ITV Report

Travellers use digger to move onto playing fields

The travellers used the digger to pull down the fencing. Photo: BPM Media

Travellers were filmed using a digger to break onto a playing field.

The footage shows the digger ripping down a wooden barrier before around 20 vehicles and vans moved onto the field in West Bromwich.

Sandwell Council were able to use the video, filmed by local residents, to persuade the travellers to move - and the group had gone by 10.30pm that evening.

This is another example of us working with the police to remove unauthorised encampments as quickly as possible.

The fence was torn down in front of the eyes of residents, who captured the act on their mobile phones.

This was incredibly useful evidence for the council and the police - it meant we could show criminal damage was committed to gain access to the field.

I’d encourage anyone who spots this sort of criminal activity, if they can do so safely and without putting anybody at risk, to capture it on camera and hand the evidence to the police and council.

– Jan Britton, Sandwell Council

Council officers, police and local councillors joined residents at the playing field on Thursday and the group were ordered to leave or be arrested for criminal damage.

The council has dealt with more than 90 unauthorised encampments with the cost of clean-ups, site security, bailiffs and court costs adding up to more than £250,000 in 2016/17.