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Rough sleepers risk jail if they camp next to Wisbech recycling centre

The closure order makes it a criminal offence to be anywhere on the land

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Rough sleepers have been threatened with jail if they pitch up next to a Cambridgeshire recycling centre. The warning comes as it was revealed today the Tories face a revolt from their own MPs over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new Criminal Justice Bill which could criminalise homelessness.

In Fenland drastic efforts to prevent homeless people from sleeping on private land are contained in a ‘closure order’ on two pieces of land next to the Fenland Recycling Centre in Boleness Road, Wisbech, to deter anyone from sleeping there.

The order was granted last December but an extension of the order to the end of June was agreed by Peterborough magistrates who were told that police had visited the land more than 30 times in recent months.

The court was told of numerous complaints by staff from the recycling centre and local residents concerned about anti-social and criminal behaviour.

A police statement issued after the hearing said that complaints included “trespassing, people rough-sleeping, littering and items being stolen from the recycling centre which were then being sold on the land, attracting people at all times of the night”.

The closure order makes it a criminal offence to be anywhere on the land.

Police released photos of the areas of land affected by the closure order

Police released photos of the areas of land affected by the closure order

Police released photos of the areas of land affected by the closure order

Police released photos of the areas of land affected by the closure order

“An initial closure order was granted on the land found at the rear of Fenland Recycling Centre in Boleness Road, Wisbech, on 28 December, which expired on March 28,” said the police statement.

“However, the Wisbech Neighbourhood Policing Team applied to the court for the order to be extended for a further three months, which was granted.”

Police pin a closure order to the land where rough sleeping is banned, and anyone caught there risks prosecution. Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

Police pin a closure order to the land where rough sleeping is banned, and anyone caught there risks prosecution. Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

The order states the land owned by Cadent Gas, as identified by area A on a map, is closed to anyone other than employees of Cadent Gas, authorised contractors, staff from Fenland District Council and the emergency services until 28 June.

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The land owned by Fosters Development LTD, as identified by area B on a map, is closed to anyone other than employees of Fosters Development LTD, authorised contractors, staff from Fenland District Council and the emergency services until 28 June.

Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

Police also released photos – not all recent – of evidence of people living there.

“Failure to comply with the order is a criminal offence which could result in imprisonment of up to three months, a fine, or both,” the police statement added.

PC Justin Bielawski, from the Wisbech Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have been working with the landowners and local authority who have taken measures to deter the behaviour including installing additional lighting and CCTV cameras.

“However, this alone has not had the desired effect, therefore we applied for the closure order to be put in place.

“While it has been effective to some extent in reducing the behaviour, it has not completely stopped which is why we have applied for an extension for it to be in place.

“My team and I have visited the site more than 30 times in the last three months to check for breaches and it has been evident that people are still using the land.

Police pin a closure order to the land where rough sleeping is banned, and anyone caught there risks prosecution

Police pin a closure order to the land where rough sleeping is banned, and anyone caught there risks prosecution

“One man was caught in the act, arrested and charged with breaching a closure order and is due to appear in court.”

PC Bielawski added: “We will continue to monitor the situation and take action against anyone found breaching the order. I hope this provides some reassurance to the local community that we are listening and responding to their concerns.”

The police statement added that anyone with information about the closure order being breached should contact them online via the web chat service or online forms at www.cambs.police.uk/report. Those without internet access should call 101.

 

 

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