PARISH councillors have said police are powerless to help stop travellers despoiling the village.

Following a special meeting with local police sergeant Kevin Hickman and Oxfordshire County Council's traveller liaison officer last Tuesday, Grove Parish Council chairwoman June Stock said: "The police told us they can't really do a lot."

The conference, also attended by district and county councillors and members of public, was called after trespassing travellers cost the parish council £11,000 in clean-up bills in the past year.

On the most recent visit in May, travellers who took over the village recreation ground left behind human and pony faeces, scattered wood, scorch marks in the grass and rubbish scattered around the playing field.

The council called the special meeting to find out what went wrong and why the travellers were not dealt with better, but came away disappointed.

Mrs Stock said: "Sergeant Hickman told us he can go and talk to them but he can't do much better – they can't pay for it.

"If there are less than six caravans they can't do anything and if they are more he can give them an order to move."

Mrs Stock said the council would now have to see if it could take any more actions itself to stop travellers getting onto parish property.

The chairwoman also said yesterday there were three caravans parked on the village green but they were causing no trouble and were set to move to make way for the fun fair arriving this week.