More than £16,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent by Sutton Council on clearing fly-tipped waste that was left behind after a spate of incursions this summer.

The incursion at Poulter Park, which saw 17 vehicles parked up on the public space for nearly two weeks, racked up a huge £12,763 bill.

More than 40 tonnes of rubbish – including domestic and human waste – needed cleaning up as a padlock was cut to gain entry in July.

Idverde and Veolia charged Sutton Council £5,800 altogether while staff time and machinery cost £4,880.

The incursions, which spanned from June 13 to July 29, ran across 43 days, saw 114 caravans and other vehicles, and affected various areas of council-owned land.

Beddington Park was hit twice over 11 days in total, alongside Fairlands Park and Rosehill West, as well as Cheam Leisure Centre, Cheam Recreational Ground, and Roundshaw Playing Fields.

But it doesn’t just include this summer, as it also involves earlier incursions which began in February, as the total bill - including staff time, legal costs, and repairs - amounted to £35,929 altogether.

In three instances, padlocks were cut, damaged, or removed for access.

At Beddington Park a concrete bollard – then a steel bollard – was broken or damaged, while three other bollards, a swing barrier, and padlocks were removed at Roundshaw Playing Fields.

A document, seen by Sutton Guardian, details the money which was spent by the council and used as evidence in gaining powers to ban encampments on its land.

The figures were confirmed as correct by a spokesman for the authority but declined to provide further comment.

Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake said: “This is money that could be better spent on looking after vulnerable children or the elderly.

“The injunction the council have obtained will make it easier to remove illegal encampments, but if some travellers are intent on going onto council land and committing offences – such as fly-tipping – ultimately we need the police to step in promptly, remove them and for prosecutions to take place.

Mr Brake insisted “this is not happening because of a lack of powers and police numbers”.

Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Scully said: “Why should law-abiding taxpayers pick up the £35,000 tab for a group of people who move from place to place with no regard for their environment or those living nearby?

“Forty tons of fly-tipped waste and human waste left behind in Poulter Park is not the result of an eclectic lifestyle choice, but of people who know they live outside the law.”

He continued that there are various sites across England for members of the travelling community.

However, Mr Scully added that he has called on the Government for stronger powers to “evict those who move around our parks and empty sites with reckless impunity”.

Sutton Council was forced to go to the High Court to get powers to ban encampments across the borough in August to prevent repeated occurrences.

After the current injunction expires in November, officers will be going back to the courts again to seek the full three years.