Unauthorised traveller and gypsy sites

How we deal with unauthorised sites

Private land

If the encampment is on private land, it is usually the landowner's responsibility to evict the trespassers and clean up their land.

Council land

We will usually remove gypsies/travellers, who camp on council-owned land without agreement, using powers under Section 77 and Section 78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. 

We cannot remove gypsies/travellers from council land immediately.  We must:

  • show that the gypsies/travellers are on the land without consent
  • make enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children's education
  • ensure that the Human Rights Acts 1998 has been fully complied with
  • follow a set procedure in terms of proving ownership of land and details of the illegal encampment that will enable us to successfully obtain the necessary authority from the courts to order the gypsies/travellers to leave the site.

When the unauthorised encampment has been moved, we will clean the site as soon as possible. The site will be reviewed to see if the land can be better protected from future trespasses. 

Action by the police

The police will investigate reports of crime. They have a duty to keep the peace and prevent crime.

In certain circumstances (for example, where there are 6 or more vehicles), officers may use powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. They will only use these powers where there is serious criminality or public disorder, illegal occupation of the land is a relevant factor and the problems cannot be addressed using normal criminal law.