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Travellers evicted from Channing School playing fields in Stanhope Road, Highgate

PUBLISHED: 20:14 16 September 2019

Police with the Travellers on Thursday. Picture: Adrian Zorzut

Police with the Travellers on Thursday. Picture: Adrian Zorzut

Archant

Police have evicted a group of Travellers who set up shelter on Channing School's playing fields.

A neighbour in Stanhope Road alerted police to the convoy, comprising four caravans of families, who had entered the field the previous evening. Barbed wire and padlocks to the field had been cut, though it is not known who was responsible for this.

Police visited that evening and returned the next day with Haringey Council's enforcement team to evict the cohort, in the process arresting a man and a woman on suspicion of stealing a car.

In a statement, the Met said: "At approximately 11.35pm on September 11, police were called to reports of a number of vehicles having moved on to playing fields in Stanhope Road, N6.

"Officers attended but no criminal offences were apparent. Subsequent checks revealed that one of the vehicles had been reported stolen from Gloucestershire.

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"On September 12 two people - a man and a woman - were subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft and both have been transferred to Gloucestershire Police. The vehicle was seized."

Pupils on Thursday were unable to use the field, which is under a mile away from the school.

A member of the community who moved on to the site, 16-year-old Patrick Murphy, was stranded outside after leaving. He said: "I came out and since then they [the police] have not let me back in. I can't even get back to my parents, to get some money for water and food. You wouldn't even treat a dog like this.

"This is discrimination. We have nowhere else to go and they're kicking us out of our own place."

Channing School, where parents of senior school students pay in excess of £20,000 a year, said in a statement: "Following contact with Haringey Council on Thursday morning, the school were very grateful for the support of the council and the Metropolitan Police in helping to resolve the situation as we recognised the potential for disruption both to our pupils and our neighbours from the unauthorised presence of the Travellers."

The school uses the field for outdoor sports throughout the autumn and winter. It is also used by local sports clubs.

Channing is an private school in Highgate for girls aged four to 18, and is a member of the Girls' Schools Association.

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