Travellers who descended on Birmingham in a bid to see the Pope have left their controversial makeshift camp.
Families were given seven days to move on after they pulled their caravans onto playing fields off Cole Bank Road in Hall Green on Thursday.
But they beat the deadline by leaving over the weekend.
The development came as Birmingham Council deputy leader Coun Paul Tilsley denied the authority was performing a U-turn on its policy on travellers heading to the city for the Papal visit.
Council sources said he had simply “changed his mind” over earmarking sites capable of accommodating more convoys but Coun Tilsley said there were “no plans” for temporary camps and the idea was “never a serious runner”.
“We have tried to get the message out to all the travellers that there are no spare tickets for the Papal mass or the blessing,” he said.
“We have no plans at present for any temporary camp sites. There has been no change of mind.”
It was not clear exactly when the travellers, who were said to have come from Leeds and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, left the land or where they had gone.
But city parks boss Coun Martin Mullaney, who had been in contact with the families, said the area had been left in good condition and no rubbish appeared to have been dumped.
“I popped down on Sunday to see how things were and they had gone,” he said. “It’s all very tidy down there. I know one of the groups was from Yorkshire and one was from Donegal and I hope they have decided to go back.”
The travellers originally angered residents when they pulled onto the historic Sarehole Mill site – said to have been one of the inspirations for JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga.
They quickly moved off the land, only to move straight onto the nearby fields.
The council said last week it expected up to 3,000 travellers to flock to Birmingham ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the city’s Cofton Park on September 19.
But tight security will be in force around the park to ensure that only worshippers with a so-called ‘pilgrim’s pass’ will be able to get inside. The £25 tickets have long since sold out.