VICTORIA -- Eight people have been arrested as officials worked to clear tent camps at two locations in Victoria.

A statement from Victoria police says the eight were taken into custody Sunday as officers enforced an evacuation order issued last week for Topaz Park and the Pandora Avenue corridor.

All those arrested were taken to police headquarters and their property was removed, but police say it will be held in safekeeping and returned “under direction of Victoria Bylaw.”

Closure of the camps is part of the province-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic as health officials work to slow the spread of the coronavirus by providing accommodations with better hygiene.

The statement says police and bylaw officers, BC Housing staff, and social services agency staff provided “every possible opportunity” for campers to depart without enforcement action.

More than 300 people have been housed in Victoria-area hotels and motels as well as in modular accommodations at a local arena since efforts to clear the camps began last month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020