What happens when an illegal camp is set up? How authorities respond to reports

Local authorities across the region each have a set procedure to follow once a report of an illegal traveller camp is received.

Powers are available to move on travellers
Powers are available to move on travellers

The precise course of action can depend on the particular circumstances of each incident.

In general, it is up to private landowners to take action against those camping illegally on their land, while local authorities are responsible for dealing with incursions on council-owed sites such as parks, leisure centres and schools.

To start with, council officers will usually make contact with the group to find out what their intentions are. Should they agree to move on there may be no requirement for further action at this stage.

The police are usually contacted immediately and under an agreed protocol, can be expected to perform a number of duties, including initial welfare assessments which are often conducted in conjunction with council officers.

Enforcement action can be enacted in cases involving damage, fly-tipping, or where anti-social behaviour takes place or threats made.

If travellers refuse to move – or breach an agreement to move by an agreed time – councils have a range of powers at their disposal.

These include so-called Section 77 powers, which enable local authorities to direct people to leave sites they have not been authorised to occupy. Injunctions can be enacted on specified sites to evict travellers, and bailiffs can be instructed to move in.

Police can remove travellers from land under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Authority from a magistrates court is required for eviction to take place.

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