Unauthorised encampment on Ashford Football Club
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Surrey Police has this afternoon (2 May) served the members of the unauthorised encampment on Ashford Football Club with a Direction to Leave under Section 61 (S61) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
This decision has been made after the encampment left the nearby Ashford Cricket Club having been served with a Direction to Leave by Spelthorne Borough Council on Friday 1 May, under Section 78 (S78) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
The unauthorised encampment has been in place in Stanwell since Monday 27 April and Surrey Police’s Critical Incident Manager determined that the requirements to be able to serve a S61 have been met when considering the financial impact that the Ashford football club faces due to damage caused by vehicles being driven across the recently renovated community pitches; the impact on local residents where the encampment has moved a short distance from its previous location; and the reports of crime associated with the encampment which are currently being investigated.
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Barcraft-Barnes said, “We are moving swiftly to intervene on this civil matter using our discretionary powers within the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. I appreciate the impact that this encampment had in its previous location at the Ashford Cricket Club, and am satisfied that we are acting robustly to prevent further disruption to the local community and local businesses.”
A spokesperson from Spelthorne Borough Council said, “Spelthorne Borough Council has been actively working with Surrey Police to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We understand that unauthorised encampments can be very worrying and disruptive for landowners and local residents and are pleased that jointly we have been able to take swift and decisive action.”
Nick Bailey, Chairman Ashford Town Football Club said, “Everyone who’s been involved in today has been incredible and I can’t thank you enough. Our local community raised £8,000 to renovate our pitches and we were able to use them for just one week before Covid19 shut us down – we’ve lost six months of revenue and this could have made things a million times worse. With the weather that’s due this week any significant damage could have been irreparable for us.”