Esther McVey has asked government to step in and explain to Cheshire Police what powers it has to move on travellers currently blighting Knutsford.
The Tatton MP said immediate action was needed to deal with the encampment on Parkgate Industrial Estate.
Speaking in Prime Minister’s Questions she said: “My constituency has a problem with travellers pitching on private land and common land and causing a nuisance, currently on Parkgate Industrial Estate in Knutsford. Either the police do not have sufficient powers to deal with this issue, or they do have sufficient powers but they are not using them. Will the Deputy Prime Minister get the government to speak with Cheshire Police to ensure they do have the powers to deal with this plight on our local community and that they use them.”
Responding Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden said Ms McVey was right to highlight the “misery caused” by unauthorised encampments.
He added: “I understand that Home Office officials do regularly liaise with the national police chief’s council on this but of course the Home Secretary will have heard the representations and I trust she will act on them.”
Police were granted extended power last year under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act to deal with illegal encampments. Those powers included powers to seize and impound vehicles as well as issue hefty fines. Previously Police had to ascertain a criminal offence had taken place, given trespass alone is not a criminal offence.
Ms McVey spoke with Home Secretary Suella Braverman immediately after the Commons exchange to ensure contact is made with Cheshire Police.
Ms McVey added: “Across the constituency we are seeing problems at certain times of the year on both private and public land, the latest being in Knutsford. We need to send a clear message to that illegal encampments will not be tolerated.”