A COUNCIL storage site long-blighted by travellers has once again been occupied, despite the authority spending a five-figure sum to tighten up security.

The Devon County Council depot at Drumbridges roundabout near Liverton had been plagued by bands of travellers many times in recent years, most recently last winter.

On that occasion the council spent several months trying to evict the last group. They were given notice to quit the site and eventually headed off towards Exeter in the new year, leaving a costly clean-up headache for the county in their wake.

The unmanned site is used by Devon Highways to store material and lies in the ward of county councillor George Gribble.

Last month he revealed the bill to clean up the area, remove mounds of rubbish and make the compound secure cost the county £18,500.

This included cleaning surrounding woodland which had been used as a toilet, installing new fencing and putting high-security locks onto the gates.

To top it all the council dumped some 700 tonnes of gravel at the entrance. However, some of this has now been used on highways projects and may have left the site more vulnerable to incursion.

Witnesses reported at least four caravans and one LGV parked up on Wednesday.

‘This makes me livid. I was certain the measures we had taken were sufficient to deter these people,’ Cllr Gribble said this week.

‘Sadly I was proved wrong. They’ll probably say they found the lock broken and the gates open – you can’t prove anything though.

‘The council paid out all this public money to keep them out and now we’re faced with yet another costly bill to get this lot out.’

When the Mid-Devon Advertiser contacted County Hall, a spokesman for Devon County Council said: ‘We are aware of the unauthorised occupation of one of our highways depots. We are considering what action to take.’