DOZENS of travellers have set up camp on a village green ahead of the Wickham Horse Fair.

A group of around 20 caravans appeared at Shedfield Common near Wickham yesterday afternoon.

Residents said the travellers ripped up wooden posts in order to gain access to the field.

Officers attended the encampment at around 4.45pm to "assess" the situation and said they are working we the landowner to find a suitable solution.

Hampshire Chronicle: A fencepost was ripped out from the ground to gain access to the site A fencepost was ripped out from the ground to gain access to the site

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: "We are aware of an encampment at Shedfield Common, near Wickham. Officers attended the site yesterday, Tuesday, May 17, to assess the situation. We are working with the landowner to seek a suitable resolution."

The travellers have appeared just days before the Wickham Horse Fair is set to return after a two-year hiatus.

The 800-year-old historic event, which usually attracts thousands of people from the travelling community nationwide, has been shelved over the past couple of years in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

After organisers reached an agreement with the Hampshire Constabulary, a ‘small symbolic event’ was authorised to take place last year in lieu of the cancellation.

However, residents and business owners were left frustrated as scores of travellers and their horses descended on the Hampshire village - forcing police to close multiple roads.

Despite the disruption, the fair has received the go-ahead for a full return, with organisers confirming it will take place on Friday, May 20 this year.

Wickham Horse Fair is a traditional event for the travelling community to sell and race ponies and horses.

The event also usually includes a funfair and market, which are typically installed in the village square.