Trenches are dug to deter travellers

Trenches have been dug around a disused caravan site in Lowestoft in a bid to stop further invasions by travellers. Council bosses took the decision after travellers with a dozen caravans, four-wheel-drive vehicles and two horses moved onto the North Denes site last week.

Trenches have been dug around a disused caravan site in Lowestoft in a bid to stop further invasions by travellers.

Council bosses took the decision after travellers with a dozen caravans, four-wheel-drive vehicles and two horses moved onto the North Denes site last week.

Officials at Waveney District Council insist the cost of the work is minimal, running into hundreds of pounds, and will come from an existing traveller "clean-up" budget.

David Gallagher, portfolio manager for operations and facilities at the council, said: "While we await the sale of the lease for the North Denes site to a private contractor, and the associated improvements to security that this will bring, we felt it was important to take this temporary measure.

"The cost of such works is low and will protect the site against further illegal incursions."

The travellers moved onto the land during the middle of last week, but had moved on by Sunday after the council threatened to take legal action.

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The future of the dilapidated North Denes site has been the source of much controversy in recent years, with the council wanting to offload it to a private operator to reopen as a caravan park.

It was closed last year after council bosses admitted they could no longer afford the running costs, but local campaigners have objected to the sell-off because they insist it is publicly-owned land and should be left for the public of Lowestoft to walk on.

Wealthy businessman Mervyn Lambert, who lived near the site until recently, is seeking a judicial review in a bid to get the council's decision overturned.

Meanwhile, the Protect Our North Denes Association (Ponda) has lodged an application for the site to be declared a town green, preventing it from being sold off.

Members of the Tory-run council have long feared a breach of security at the site and last September, when the proposals to privatise the site were voted through, portfolio holder for operations and facilities Stephen Ardley warned the site would become a target for travellers.