TRAVELLERS have been ordered to leave a park and ride after allegedly forcing their way in and hooking up to local water supplies.

The illegal encampment, that took over half of Mereoak Park and Ride in Shinfield yesterday, was reported to authorities early in the morning.

Wokingham Borough Council said 21 caravans and associated vehicles were reported to have moved into the park and ride.

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It said a security bollard had been removed to gain access to the car park and the local water supply had been accessed without permission that same day.

Wokingham Borough Council deputy executive member for environment and leisure Michael Firmager said: "Wokingham Borough Council officers visited the site that morning with the police and carried out welfare checks on the families, who are known to both the council and the police."

He added: "The police decided it was appropriate to use their Section 61 powers to require the encampment to leave by 4pm that day and returned to the site at 4pm to move the encampment on."

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The site is owned by Wokingham Borough Council and leased to Reading Borough Council, and as such Thames Valley Police said this was a civil matter with the landowner.

It confirmed a notice was served yesterday and the group has left the park and ride.