Police were swift to move on motorhomes clogging the central car park after pubs and shops closed, citing ‘disturbances in the town’.

More than 15 motorhomes were parked together at the eastern end of the East Hampshire District Council-owned car park last Friday evening.

And over the weekend some town-centre shops and pubs closed early amid reports of fighting, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

The Red Lion reopened minutes after the motorhomes left.

On Saturday, EHDC deputy leader Julie Butler and Cllr David Mckinney met police who spoke with travellers’ representatives in the car park.

But during the day there was shoplifting in Boots, Poundland, M&S and Drugstore said customers.

Tesco Express in Charles Street, normally open until 11pm, closed about 8pm, and Waitrose also shut early because of ‘disturbances in the town.’

After more trouble on Saturday night, police returned in force on Sunday morning and used powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to hurry the departure of the motorhomes by lunchtime.

Bags of rubbish, as well as pungent human waste, littered the area.

East Hampshire Inspector Anthony Botten said: “We worked with East Hampshire District Council in response to an unauthorised encampment set up on Friday in the car park.

“We will balance the needs and rights of our communities with actions that are proportionate, lawful and necessary and work closely with partners so a robust approach within legal parameters is used against unauthorised encampments.”

Under Section 61, offenders can be moved on without a court order if communities are deprived of amenities; there is significant environmental impact; disruption to the local economy; significant other disruption to the local community or environment, or a danger to life and a need to take preventative action.