The travellers towed their caravans onto the field at Saltway Farm Shop on the Broughton Road yesterday morning. Thames Valley Police were called to the site at 11am.
The police force’s media department confirmed today that the travellers had demanded £7,000 payment from the owners to leave their land but this was refused.
They said the landowner had started to instigate an eviction order. However officers spoke to the travellers who left the site of their own accord yesterday afternoon and evening.
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Some witnesses said individuals from the group had intimidated visitors to the farm shop’s cafe. However the police log does not contain any reports of damage or thefts at the site, cafe or shop.
A police spokesman said: “We get called to these situations but when it’s on private land, it’s down to the landowner to deal with but we do provide advice, as we did here.”
The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (“PCSC”) Act aims to strengthen the police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments which cause damage, disruption or distress. This includes a new power of arrest and the power for police to seize the vehicles of those committing it.
The Act creates a new criminal offence of residing with a vehicle on land without permission. The new offence will be committed when someone causes significant damage, disruption or distress in the conditions described, but has been framed in such a way as to ensure that the rights of those wishing to enjoy the countryside are not impacted.