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Gypsies and Travellers - Unauthorised Encampments

Unauthorised encampments on council land are dealt with by the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU). You can report an unauthorised encampment to them here.

The Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (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.

Dealing with Unauthorised Gypsy or Traveller Encampments 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.

Handling StageDaySteps Involved
1Day 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
2Day 2

Issue a direction to leave, normally with 24 hours to comply

3Day 3

If the direction is not followed then apply to court

4Day 4 - 5

Serve a summons, which can take 2 working days, or sometimes 1 day in exceptional circumstances

5Day 6

Serve a court order with notice of enforcement after 24 hours - the encampment must leave upon service of the order

6Day 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.

Report an Unauthorised Encampment

Unauthorised Encampments Reported this Week

LocationHandling Stage (see table above for full stage description)Additional Comments
No current encampments reported

If an unauthorised encampment on council land is not listed on the table above you can report it using our online form

Do It Online - Report an Unauthorised Encampment (Grey) This link opens in a new browser window
Do it Online - Report an Unauthorised Encampment on Council Land

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 Advice and Information

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