THE last reported incident to the council concerning an unlawful travellers' encampment was on August 24.

The authority has confirmed reports have now decreased following a spike of incidents across the borough.

In August it was revealed that unlawful encampments, which were blighting the lives of residents, cost the council £40,000 in the previous six months.

Money was spent on council officers' time, bailiff costs, security, works, site clearance and clean-up costs.

Individual parish councils also incurred costs for securing sites and clean-ups.

Deputy council leader Mike Hannon has been announced as the new chairman of the group set to make new recommendations for a transit site.

But this week Town Hall chiefs have been coy to comment on why they believe there has been a drop in reports of unlawful travellers due to the 'sensitivity' of the topic and a refusal to 'speculate'.

However, Cllr Chris Vobe (LAB – Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft) has praised the operation carried out to ease residents' fears, including the installation of a £6,000 gate on Silver Lane in Risley.

"We have been fortunate that the frequent unlawful encampments across the town that we saw during the summer have stopped," he said.

"In areas like Culcheth and Croft, we have put in place measures to protect many of our green and open spaces which, so far, have worked well.

"On Silver Lane, we have benefitted from Labour investment with the installation of the long-awaited barrier to prevent caravans setting up near homes in Risley.

"We continue to closely monitor any possible sites where travellers may encamp and will respond quickly in the event of any future incursions."