Illegally parked Travellers have thanked council officials for their kindness, saying they have been treated better in Brighton and Hove than anywhere else.
A group of Irish Travellers who have set up an illegal camp in the car park of the Waterhall playing fields, close to the junction of the A27, said they were incredibly grateful to Brighton and Hove City Council for their help.
The Travellers spoke as it emerged four illegal encampments of caravans had sprung up in the city this week.
Typically Travellers come into the city in the summer, leaving as the weather gets colder.
But over the Christmas and New Year period a number arrived.
Travellers’ camps are currently located at Brighton Racecourse just north of Manor Hill, in the Duke’s car park at the entrance to Stanmer Park, the Pavilion car park at Waterhall, and at Black Rock.
The Brighton Racecourse Travellers were previously staying at Sheepcote Valley, off Wilson Avenue, but were moved on after Brighton and Hove City Council was granted a possession order in the county court.
Prayers of thanks
Traveller 35-year-old John O’Leary, from Ireland, explained that he and his family were parked off Waterhall while visiting relatives who lived in the permanent travellers’ site at Horsdean, Patcham.
Mr O’Leary, who said they had been on the site for about two weeks and would probably move on Sunday, said: “The council has been so helpful. We’ve said a prayer for the council.
“We are all so thankful that they have been so welcoming.
“They have let us use the toilets and brought bins down which have been regularly emptied.”
A city council spokesman said: “Some of the Travellers from Sheepcote Valley are now occupying racecourse land.
“This is private land and the unauthorised encampment will be dealt with by the landowner."
The encampment on Madeira Drive is being monitored by the authority and Sussex Police.
A court order to have the Waterhall Travellers moved on has been secured the the authority is applying for a separate order so it could clear the caravans at Stanmer Park.
Ben Duncan, the council’s cabinet member for communities, equalities and public protection, said the large numbers of travellers currently in the city indicated there was a need for a second permanent travellers’ site.
He said: “It is very difficult for travellers. It is difficult if you are on an illegal encampment. It proves the need for some sort of permanent provision.”