The borough is bracing itself for an expected surge in illegal traveller incursions in the coming weeks.

Annually, the number of illegal traveller camps set up in Sutton increases during the summer months with a spike around events including this weekend's Epsom Derby.

However, this year Sutton Council has said it is making preparations for potential incursions and is continuing with a programme if plans to prevent people bringing caravans on to the borough's green spaces.

A Sutton Council spokesman said: "The borough does regularly see an increase in the numbers of travellers over the summer months; however this is in large part due to work opportunities rather than specific events such as the Epsom Downs horse racing this weekend.

"We have worked closely with other local authorities and key partners to put together a package of short-terms and long-term measures to address the issue of illegal gypsy and traveller encampments in the borough.

Sutton Guardian: Travellers leave Rose Hill Park leaving mountains of rubbish

Rubbish left on Rose Hill Park last year

"We continue to carry out improvements to parks, highways and car parks that will make them more resistant to illegal encampments."

Last summer and autumn the borough was plagued with illegal traveller encampments prompting record numbers of complaints to the council and costs in excess of £20,000 in legal services and bailiffs to have them removed. Removing travellers cost the council just over £4,000 the previous year.

Rose Hill park was particularly badly hit and in October a group of travellers left mountains of rubbish that prompted a council investigation.

Earlier that month tonnes of rubbish including human excrement was left in Roundshaw Park.

Sutton Council said it has dealt with 13 illegal traveller encampments so far this year.

It has also installed preventative measures including raised bunds around the edges of parks and secure gates, although these measures have been bypassed by travellers in the past.

Sutton Guardian: Human excrement on a slide in Roundshaw Park

Human excrement was left on a slide in Roundshaw