A NORTH-EAST council affected by illegal travellers' camps is not planning to make use of tough new legislation to combat the problem, officials said last night.

Darlington Borough Council has been forced to deal with travellers at unauthorised sites in the town over the past 12 months.

Only last week, caravans were parked at the showpiece Morton Palms business development, on the edge of town, and were only moved after legal action was threatened.

It was the third time this year the site had been targeted by travellers, who also previously went on to land at Alderman Crooks Park, Red Hall, Allington Way, McMullen Road, Springfield Park and John Dixon Lane.

But the council said last night that it would not use the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to give police the powers to immediately remove travellers or arrest them if they enter certain sites.

Wakefield Council, in West Yorkshire, yesterday became the first in the country to invoke the powers under Section 30 of the Act, creating five no-go areas for travellers.

But a Darlington council spokesman said such action was not deemed necessary in the town.

He said: "We already have a strategy in place for dealing with travellers' camps, and last year we invested heavily in securing areas that had been targeted."

The authority spent £34,000 on sites in the town, installing barriers to prevent travellers occupying land.