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Traveller family banned from Sandwell parks after high court ruling

Photo: BPM.

A traveller family have been banned from setting up unauthorised camps in Sandwell after persistently ‘causing misery for residents’ - including reportedly leaving human excrement in a park.

Fourteen members of the Cassidy family have been forbidden from setting up unauthorised encampments on 17 Sandwell Council-owned sites including parks, playing fields and open spaces, after a ruling by a High Court judge in Birmingham.

The injunction also bans head of the family John Cassidy from the whole of Sandwell, while the rest of his family are prohibited from fly-tipping and causing damage to barriers.

The court heard how the Cassidy family had cost the council £250,000. Credit: BPM.

The court heard how the Cassidy family had caused anti-social behaviour including assaults, large scale disorder, threats, intimidation and criminal damage on 25 sites between June 2014 and August 2016- costing the council £250,000.

The group, along with up to 40+ caravans and vehicles, had caused an 'extreme amount of fly-tipping including leaving human waste and piles of rubbish on sites across Sandwell.'

Judge McKenna granted the injunction based on substantial evidence submitted by Sandwell council and West Midlands Police.

Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Steve Eling said:

The Cassidy family have caused anti-social behaviour, threatened council and police officers, intimidated residents and fly-tipped on sites around Sandwell for some time. This injunction is a message to the Cassidy's and other groups who set up unauthorised encampments that we will not tolerate this behaviour.

– Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Steve Eling.
Judge McKenna granted the injunction based on substantial evidence submitted by Sandwell council and West Midlands Police. Credit: BPM.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and investment Councillor Paul Moore added

Unauthorised encampments cause misery for residents, cost the council thousands of pounds a year and take up valuable police time and resources. This has to stop.This injunction is the latest in a series of actions we’re taking to prevent and remove unauthorised encampments, including the use of bailiffs, police powers and creating a transit site. Dealing with unauthorised encampments and the mess they often leave behind cost the council around £250,000 last year and this is just not acceptable. It’s our priority to protect our land by doing whatever we can to stop unauthorised encampments in Sandwell.

– Councillor Paul Moore.
If any of the Cassidy family breach the order it will be contempt of court, and they could face two years in jail, a fine or have their assets seized. Credit: BPM.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added:

I welcome this tough action against a group of individuals who have caused no end of trouble for local people.The success of this injunction is down to the excellent partnership between West Midlands Police and Sandwell Council, which is setting an example nationally for how to work together to tackle an issue head-on. This follows Sandwell Council’s decision to bring in a transit site to strengthen our options for dealing with difficult groups. Sandwell Council is taking a lead on this important issue and I hope other councils will follow their tough action.

– West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.

If any of the Cassidy family breach the order it will be contempt of court, and they could face two years in jail, a fine or have their assets seized.

17 sites are named in the injunction including:

  • Kent Road Open Space, Friar Park, Wednesbury
  • Millenium Park, Friar Park Road, Wednesbury
  • Sandy Lane Open Space, Friar Park, Wednesbury
  • Blakeley Wood Road, Tipton
  • Land off Dartmouth Street, Greets Green, West Bromwich
  • Shaftesbury House car park, High Street, West Bromwich
  • Churchfields Playing Fields, Newton Road, West Bromwich
  • Wyntor Lane Open Space, West Bromwich
  • Crookhay Lane / Chester Road Open Space, West Bromwich
  • Meadow Avenue Open Space, West Bromwich
  • Greets Green Recreational Ground, Claypit Lane, West Bromwich
  • Ridgacre Industrial Estate, Ridgacre Road, West Bromwich
  • Lion Farm Playing Fields, Newbury Lane, Oldbury
  • West Smethwick Park, Victoria Road, Smethwick