Extra measures are due to be introduced to prevent illegal encampments at a park in Reading.

While unauthorised camping is not a criminal offence, trespassing is a civil offence.

In order for the council to get unauthorised campers to move on, it can either ask the campers to leave or apply for an eviction notice from a court.

Cintra Park has been the subject of annual incursions from Travellers who temporarily occupy the park with camper vans.

During one concerning incident in 2021, a football match was disrupted when people towing caravans drove across Cintra Park.

Last year, those camping in the park were told to leave by the council.

READ MORE: Travellers moved on by police after causing 'significant distress and disruption'

The council has reported that there have been four unauthorised encampments reported to it from 2021-23.

Therefore, Reading neighbour Ed Street has called for obstructions to deter unauthorised encampments.

Measures the council has already taken include the installation of height restrictions and lower-lying barriers at the Cintra Park car park accessed from Northumberland Avenue.

Mr Street's request was answered by Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey), lead councillor for environmental services and community safety.

READ MORE: Cost of tackling traveller encampments in Reading revealed

While enhanced security measures such as concealed lock boxes for gates have been established at the council's maintenance access to the park in Cintra Avenue, cllr Rowland warned that these entries are the most vulnerable to intrusion.

She said: "It has to be understood and accepted that any measure can be cut through by determined individuals and therefore access points are regularly inspected by our teams who maintain these areas.

"Spare padlocks are a standard stock item within the Streetscene Team and immediately upon notification of a defective lock, a replacement would be installed on a priority basis.

"As we cannot be everywhere at all times, local residents or park users can assist greatly, and they can and should report any broken access points as a matter of immediate priority to the Council on Love Clean Reading or to our call centre number at 0118 937 37 87."

Outside of business hours, neighbours should use the council's emergency call centre.

READ MORE: Court action taken over Traveller encampment at Reading park 

Cintra Park has been identified for further security enhancements.

Cllr Rowland said: "Two further enhanced security measures have been identified for Cintra Park on top of the already robust, bespoke systems we have in place."

The nature of these measures is currently being kept secret. It is understood these will be installed this year.

The council approved a plan to establish seven Traveller pitches at a site in Island Road in October 2022 with the legal hurdles being cleared in March.

So far this month, the council has been made aware of two encampments on council land, with four caravans being parked unauthorised at the Cattle Market Car Park, and one caravan was in place at the Bamburgh Close car park in Whitley.

On both occasions, the people involved were served a 'notice to quit' which is effectively an eviction notice.