Opinion: Tackling unauthorised Traveller camp
PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 November 2017
It is about time local councils and the government consider the emotional and destructive impact that illegal Travellers incursions have on law abiding people.
You may have heard that last Friday Travellers accessed Grenfell Park at Roneo Corner, whereby they dumped large amounts of rubbish at the rear of properties in Edison Avenue.
While we need to ensure the fabric of our community is as cohesive as possible, many constituents have told me that the balance of rights appear to be on the Travellers side. Not all, but many cases equate to fly-tipping of rubbish, and the illegal trespassing of private property.
I find it completely inexplicable that costs were incurred onto residents. There is no excuse for actions which are tantamount to criminal damage.
I have asked the Secretary of State for Justice what is being done to limit the expense incurred to innocent parties. This was the reply: “The court must consider making a compensation order under section 130 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 in any case where personal injury, loss or damage has resulted from the offence. It is an operational matter for the police, following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, to decide whether or not an offence reaches the threshold required for prosecution under the relevant legislation.”
Clearly, the onus is on local authorities, so I will be contacting both to ensure that Havering can deal with illegal encampments effectively. Local residents must be aware of the powers available without reference to courts, otherwise enforcements and legal proceedings can cause severe delays. Landowners must be aware of their common law rights to seek damages to their land, and Havering Council have to be proactive in seeking pre-emptive injunctions.