Police could move in to forcibly evict a large group of gypsies who have set up camp in a Melton town centre car park.
More than a dozen caravans were parked in spaces off Burton Road on Sunday afternoon, effectively taking up around half of the site.
A legal notice requiring the requiring the travellers to leave by 1pm on Tuesday has now been served by police, at the request of Melton Council, which is concerned there will not be enough spaces for motorists on busy Tuesday market day.
A spokesperson for Melton Council said: “A legal notice has now been served by the police, at our request, requiring the group to vacate the car park.
“This expires at 1pm tomorrow (Tuesday June 2) and is the most powerful and speedy tool available to us.
“After this time, the police are able to forcibly remove the group.
“Alternative provision has been made for parking for the market traders vehicles that usually use Burton St car park, so that the occupancy does not impact on the Tuesday market. Any queries regarding this should be directed to the Town Estate.
“Arrangements are in place to free up additional car parking for shoppers and market visitors at the front of Parkside should it be needed.
“Parkside staff are being requested to help by finding using alternative options if appropriate.
“The group have been advised that they are required to buy parking tickets for their cars and there is evidence that this is happening.”
Ironically, the gypsies have moved on to a site directly in front of Melton Council’s offices - they are understood to be staying in the town en route to a popular annual horse fair in Cumbria.
Jim Worley, the council’s head of regulatory services, said earlier that the authority was working with the Multi Agency Traveller Unit (MATU), an organisation made up of local authorities in Leicestershire and police officers, in an attempt to resolve the situation swiftly.
Mr Worley said: “Our first reports that the gypsies had moved on to the car park came at 3pm on Sunday and we have been informed they are passing by on their way to the Appleby fair.
“We want them to leave by 5am on Tuesday morning because that is when the market traders begin arriving and when there is a big demand for parking spaces in that car park.”