Travellers who refused to budge from an illegal site in Wath, despite council threats, have been moved on at the eleventh hour.
A community rugby field at Wath Comprehensive School was left like a rubbish tip after the travellers removed their caravans on Sunday.
The illegal campers had been forced to leave after Rotherham Borough Council threatened to serve a formal notice on them on Friday.
Waste left in the aftermath of their encampment included black bin bags of rubbish, mattresses, television casements, household waste and other items.
A council spokeswoman said: “The procedure is that initially we serve a formal notice for the travellers to leave. That is a notice served as an intention to seek possession. Fortunately we did not have to do this because the travellers moved off on Sunday afternoon.
“As the land is owned by the authority a set of legal processes have to be followed. The site has now been cleared of rubbish. The travellers moved before papers could be served.”
It is believed bolt cutters were used to get into the school playing fields as the travellers’ convoy of caravans left the scene.
The fields, which had been unused during the school holidays, are usually used for sport activities by students during term time including for football and rugby matches. Residents had reported incidents to the police including damage to goal posts.
Wath MP John Healey had been battling for weeks for something to be done about the travellers and said they had left council taxpayers with a huge bill. He added: “Travellers have caused disruption for weeks at Wath rugby club and left a big bill for council tax payers in clearing up afterwards.
“Setting up camp on the school fields is the last straw. I’ve been pressing the police and council for a tough response to evict and move them.”
Despite repeated calls to the Gypsy Council and emails requesting a comment, at the time of going to press no one had replied.