Traveller encampments have sprung up in villages around Cambridge ahead of the start of Midsummer Fair tonight.
About 10 caravans that were parked on the green in Haslingfield moved on to a field a few hundred yards away in Harston Road yesterday, after being threatened with eviction, while caravans on the verge near the former Trinity Foot pub in Swavesey moved on yesterday after spending several days there.
The Travellers were thought to be planning to attend Midsummer Fair, which is a major event in their social calendar and runs on Midsummer Common until Monday.
Their arrival comes just days after South Cambridgeshire District Council announced it was cutting back its planned provision for legal Traveller pitches and after Cambridge City Council said it had failed to identify even one site which could be used legally by Travellers.
Cllr Robin Page, who represents Haslingfield on South Cambridgeshire District Council, said some villagers were upset by the arrivals.
He said: “I’m concerned that the illegal occupation of land is so easy and I’m concerned that it costs so much money to implement the law and move them on.
“In my view the illegal occupation of land should be made a criminal offence and then it would all be done by the police and it would all be over extremely quickly – in my opinion it wouldn’t be happening on the scale it’s happening now.
“I think it cost Haslingfield Parish Council £800 to use the bailiff and that would be better spent on other things in the village.”
The Travellers in Haslingfield are believed to have returned to the area several days ago after attending Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria, having previously been moved on from sites at Fowlmere and Newton.
A spokesman for the county council, which owns the land at Trinity Foot, said the travellers there had given an undertaking to move on when the fair finishes and had been given refuse sacks to keep the site tidy.
He said they were “not causing any disruption”, but Cllr Sue Ellington, who represents Swavesey on the district council, said the Travellers had moved on yesterday.
Jessica Wheeler, a Cambridge member of the Traveller Solidarity Network, said villagers should be understanding.
She said: “If someone is getting anxious because someone is stopping for a day or two on a field, it’s like they’re trying to squeeze every part out of Travellers’ lifestyles.
“These fairs are a really important part of Traveller culture and there’s not much left to hold onto – there’s so much legality that gets in the way of people being able to move around the country and stop.
“Communities need to show a bit of tolerance.”
Three caravans were parked outside the entrance to Milton Country Park yesterday, after Travellers moved on from Trinity Hall Farm industrial estate.
The county council spokesman said: “Court action to move on this group will be started immediately and they will be served with notice to move as quickly as possible subject to the court process.”