West Midlands Police have taken action to evict travellers from an illegal encampment in Birmingham after reports of a major disorder overnight.
Concerned members of the public reported seeing a mass brawl and vehicles being damaged on open land off Pennyacre Road in Druids Heath.
One man was transferred to hospital with stab wounds – his condition is not life threatening – and a caravan and another vehicle had windows smashed.
A local authority-led eviction was planned over the coming days but in light of the disorder – which broke out at around 1.40am today (26 July) – West Midlands Police stepped in to invoke powers that forced the group to leave.
The legislation – under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act – gives police the power to break-up illegal encampments if occupants have ignored pleas to move, have more than six vehicles between them, and have damaged the land or abused land owners.
The group were moved on this afternoon, with the last vehicle leaving at around 5.25pm, having been served with their Section 61 notice.
Birmingham Police Inspector Noeleen Murrin, said: “What happened was totally unacceptable: a major fight, weapons used, spilling into the street and causing real concern in the local community.
“Two vehicles were badly damaged, possibly beyond viable repair.
“Response and specialist officers were quickly on the scene in a bid to quell the trouble and protect neighbouring residents and property.
“Police work alongside local authorities to negotiate with traveller groups who trespass on land with the aim of moving them on quickly and peacefully. But when we have incidents like last night we will not hesitate to step in and break-up illegal encampments at short notice.”
Enquiries continue into the disorder and stabbing.