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Gypsies and Travellers - Unauthorised Encampments

Unauthorised encampments on council land are dealt with the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU).

Report an unauthorised gypsy or traveller encampment on council land

You should report unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments on council land anywhere within the Basildon Borough to the  Essex Countrywide Traveller Unit (ECTU).

The ECTU follows government guidance, which involves:

  • proving ownership of the land
  • carrying out assessments for health, welfare and education
  • assessing the impact of the encampment on its location

The ECTU can apply to court for an eviction order. Some encampments only stay for a few days and leave before the full procedure is completed.

The length of stay depends on each individual case. It takes time to follow the procedures. The process can take 7 to 10 working days if court orders are needed.

The process for dealing with an unauthorised gypsy or traveller encampment on council land

The ECTU has a target process based on working days. This may start immediately or from the first working day after receiving a report.

  • Day 1
    • visit the site to confirm location, numbers and intention
    • find out who owns the land
    • if the land is not privately-owned then get physical proof of ownership
    • carry out assessments and welfare checks
  • Day 2 - Issue a direction to leave, normally with 24 hours to comply
  • Day 3 - If the direction is not followed then apply to court
  • Day 4-5 - Serve a summons, which can take 2 working days, or sometimes 1 day in exceptional circumstances
  • Day 6 - Serve a court order with notice of enforcement after 24 hours - the encampment must leave upon service of the order
  • Day 7 - Call in bailiffs if the encampment has still not moved

Police involvement

Police can visit an unauthorised encampment and in some circumstances may choose to use powers available under  the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It is for the senior officer who visits the encampment to decide what action should be taken.

Residents who feel threatened or suffer anti-social behaviour of any sort should call the police.

Unauthorised gypsy or traveller encampments on private land

An unauthorised encampment on private land is subject to the laws of trespass, which is a civil matter. It is for the landowner to take the appropriate action.

Private landowners are also responsible for the removal of waste from their land.

Further information and advice

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