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Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have reported rubbish, waste and damage at a travellers’ camp by the Horizon building at Forres Enterprise Park

By Garry McCartney

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Travellers in the vacant field next to HIE’s Horizon business start-up building.
Travellers in the vacant field next to HIE’s Horizon business start-up building.

A REGIONAL development agency has started the eviction process for travellers illegally camped on its commercial property to the east of town.

Having driven between wooden bollards installed to stop encroachment, around 12 caravans have been camped in a field adjacent to the Horizon Scotland start-up office on Forres Enterprise Park since Tuesday, May 21.

The land, now littered with rubbish, is owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

A HIE spokesperson said: “We immediately notified the police when we became aware of the travellers’ presence and that some of the bollards installed to prevent access had been damaged. We are are now implementing legal measures along with Moray Council regarding eviction.

“Both Police Scotland and Moray Council have subsequently visited the site. There is evidence that it is being misused, for example rubbish and waste left out and damage to windows, external lights and landscaping.

“Tenants on the Enterprise Park have expressed concerns about the encampment and the issue of rubbish. We have been in contact with them about the steps we are taking.

“We understand eviction notice has been served but expect this will take time to enforce.

“A clean-up will take place once the travellers have left.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed local officers are aware of the situation.

He added: “It is a matter for the landowner and the local authority.”

Moray Council is bound by its own protocols regarding travellers camps in the region. These include: an initial visit to an unauthorised encampment; the decision on response; management; removal of waste; and recovery.

A spokesperson said: “Our unauthorised encampment officer has been liaising with the group in accordance with our protocols.

“HIE has responsibility for instructing any legal action or enforcing evictions.”

Local authority rules ask travellers to look after the sites they occupy, refrain from fly-tipping and use portable toilets provided.

As the unauthorised site is on private, the local authority retains responsibility for monitoring the camp; making agencies aware of any needs; and liaising with the landowner.

It is for the landowner to decide what legal action, if any, to take to reclaim the land.

A notice put up at the camp site reads: “You are hereby served with the attached notice to remove dated Twenty-Second May 2024, that you may not plead ignorance of the same.”

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