A group of travellers has been forced to leave Purley Way playing fields less than 24 hours after setting up shop.

Croydon Council was granted new powers in July this year through a High Court injunction to help enable the removal of illegal camps.

A group of about 50 caravans set up an encampment on the playing field on Sunday, August 12 at about 11.30pm.

Using those newly acquired powers the encampment was ordered to leave in less than 24 hours.

Councillor David Wood, deputy cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities, said: “This was a substantial illegal encampment and I’m glad the new powers are working well.

“This new arrangement allows officers to react quickly to incursions and help communities continue to enjoy valuable facilities.”

Once officers carried out an assessment, High Court Bailiffs visited the site to serve notices to the trespassers at 4.30pm on Monday. The caravans left the site by 9.30pm the same day.

Croydon Council secured a three-month temporary injunction on Wednesday, July 18 banning anyone from occupying land or disposing of waste on 200 of the borough’s parks, open spaces, council land and 11 highways.

The council used evidence of large-scale fly-tipping and the cost of clearing it, damage to gates and barriers and a high number of incursions to secure the interim injunction order.

This means the council no longer has to attend court to obtain removal orders, which can take days to obtain, and High Court enforcement officers can be called to future sites to assist with moving people on.

Failure to comply can result in imprisonment, fines or seizure of assets.