Havering on alert as Dale Farm travellers eviction looms
An alert for land invasions has been issued by Havering authorities as the eviction of travellers from Dale Farm camp looms.
Bailiffs are due to evict up to 80 families living on the huge unauthorised plot near Basildon, in Essex.
But there are widespread fears displaced families could set up home in neighbouring land - including parks and green spaces in Havering.
A spokesman for Havering Police said: “Because we are so close to the eviction site, Havering is on alert that travellers could invade land in the area.”
She also confirmed local officers are on stand-by should a high police presence be required during the eviction.
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Havering’s Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, added: “We are working closely with the police to prevent anyone illegally entering our parks over the next few weeks.
“If anyone suspects that there is illegal activity going on then we ask them to call the police on 101 or our rangers on 07904805872.”
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He added: “We will not tolerate anyone illegally entering our parks or any of our green spaces and will get them evicted as soon as possible.”
Up to 40 supporters of the travellers gathered under a scaffold watchtower to resist the entry of the bailiffs, who have been employed by Basildon Council to remove the travellers from the site.
Many protesters have chained themselves to obstacles, including cars and barrels containing concrete.
The travellers recently lost a decade-long legal fight over unauthorised development on 51 plots on half of the six-acre site.
Council leader Tony Ball said the bailiffs would launch the operation to clear the site in a safe manner.
The move came after planned last-minute talks between the council and the travellers broke down.
A Basildon Council spokesman said: “The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the health and safety issues on site, but unfortunately these talks were cancelled by the travellers.
“We therefore asked our contractors to approach the site entrance to have these discussions with the travellers and protesters directly.”