West Midlands Police officers have helped evict a large group of travellers who formed an illegal camp on the grounds of Shenley Academy – and forced it to close its doors to hundreds of students.
Around 60 adults in 20 caravans, along with an array of towing vehicles, descended on the car park on Friday afternoon (24/02).
The group, which also included children, dogs and a horse, ignored a 24-hour eviction notice served on them by council bailiffs on Saturday (25/02).
It meant the Academy could only partially open this morning (27/02) with several hundred pupils being told to stay at home.
Birmingham City Council this morning invoked Common Law powers to serve an immediate eviction demand on the group.
Around 20 specialist West Midlands Police officers, plus neighbourhood police colleagues, supported the local authority in enforcing the removal of the travellers – an operation that started at 8am.
Local police Sergeant Dave Cotter, said: “Their behaviour is totally unacceptable and has caused huge disruption for the school, teachers and pupils, plus parents who’ve been forced to make last minute care arrangements for children unable to come to school.
“The group ignored a notice to leave, which gave them 24 hours to move on, and in the end we were left with no option but to force them to leave the school grounds.
“Since they arrived on Friday we’ve conducted house to house patrols, listened to people’s concerns, and reassured them we would act swiftly. I hope the community can see that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
Officers seized an Audi from the illegal camp on Saturday for having no tax or insurance; it’s suspected the car was involved in a non-stop collision in Northfield High Street earlier that day.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “It is unacceptable that children’s education should be affected in this way.
“Parents have every right to be upset and outraged at the disruption to their children’s schooling.
“I welcome the tough action taken to evict the travellers.
“I recently held a summit, bringing the police and local councils from across the West Midlands around the table to respond to this ongoing issue. This disgraceful incident highlights why it is crucial for the summit’s recommendations to be acted upon as soon as possible.
“I have raised this incident personally with the Chief Constable. It is crucial that Birmingham City Council work with myself and other agencies to bring about a long-term solution to this pressing issue.”