Workington Town Council has used its powers as landowner to remove five traveller caravans from an unauthorised site at Harrington.

A spokesman for Workington Town Council said it wanted to free the park area, so that they could reopen it for residents to use. The council used powers under common law to instruct an enforcement agent to ask them to leave as they were trespassing.

Five caravans from the camp have moved, but they have relocated to land at Oldside, which is owned by Allerdale council.

Allerdale will now have to re-do the welfare checks on travellers at the new camp, as they have an obligation to check on their welfare.

This leaves seven caravans at the Harrington marina area, which are also on Allerdale land.

Allerdale council has different powers to the town council and has welfare obligations to fulfill.

A spokesman for Allerdale said: “It is the responsibility of each landowner to make a decision on any action they wish to take on gypsies and travellers who are sited on their land. We understand that Workington Town Council have used common law powers to remove the travellers from their land.

"The government guidance on the eviction of travellers is that the use common law trespass powers is not appropriate for use by local authorities such as Allerdale Borough Council. This is because we have to consider the welfare obligations towards the traveller community, before any eviction is commenced.

“Local authorities, such as Allerdale make use of eviction powers held under Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules or Section 77 and Section 78 of the Criminal Justice and Police Order Act. Any action involves a court eviction process.

As already stated, before taking any action we have to consider our welfare obligations towards the gypsies and travellers. In the current circumstances we also have to consider the guidance from the government regarding our approach to gypsies and travellers and helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The original guidance from Lord Greenhalgh, has not been updated since it was released earlier in the year.

“A full site assessment has been carried out which included welfare checks. This allows us to fully consider what legal options are available and appropriate as well as ensuring compliance with our statutory obligations and the guidance towards the gypsy and traveller community during lockdown.

"The situation is constantly under review and a decision on any further action will be made as soon as possible.”