A woman who has set up camp on the Caroline Symonds Garden near the bandstand in Ross-on-Wye is not breaking any laws, police said at the Ross Town Council meeting on Monday, June 12th. PC Shirley Peters said that the police have looked into every offence to find a way to move her. However Ross Town Council has now taken civil action to secure her eviction.
Town Council officers have visited the woman, Samantha Lamputt, several times and suggested various ways she could get help. There have also been offers of help made through other organisations, however the Gazette understands they have all been refused.
Ross SNT confirmed that camping on land belonging to someone else, and not committing any other offence, is a civil matter. They added that if the woman creates a problem then she can be arrested for Breach of the Peace at the time, but, as yet she has not caused any issues. They said that Ross Town Council has started the correct eviction procedure.
The case will be heard at Gloucester County Court on Friday, June 16th at 10am.
Samantha told the Ross Gazette that she is protesting at the way homeless people are treated, especially in Herefordshire. She said there is little support for people who are homeless and it could happen to anyone. She added that it can be very expensive being homeless and trying to maintain a normal life. She told the Gazette that she pays to use Ross Swimming Pool so that she can have a shower and if she wants a hot meal she has to visit a pub or restaurant, as she has no cooking facilities. One of the charity shops in Ross has allowed her to store her possessions.
Samantha said she was made homeless when her landlady needed the property she was living in, so that her own son could live there. She added that she has good references and was not behind with her rent.
Samantha wants Herefordshire Council to provide her with accommodation. She told the Ross Gazette that she does not want to sign on for benefits, and as she pays her own way by hairdressing and buying and selling items, she cannot claim the housing benefit she would need to be entitled to help with accommodation.
More updates to follow.