Unauthorised Encampments in and around the village
Many of you will be aware of the problem of unauthorised traveller encampments springing up around the Colchester area lately. Specifically the issues on the field by Manor Road, West Bergholt on Wednesday night and the recent encampment at Eight Ash Green.
The process and powers under which illegal encampments can be removed can be complex to understand and the Parish Council has received some guidance which it is keen to pass on to help everyone take the necessary precautions and steps if the worse occurs.
We have attached a flow chart (below) which shows the official approach to an unauthorised encampment. The main crux of this is to establish who the encroached land belongs to and as a first step whether the landowner has asked travellers to leave.
Once an encampment has been established, any information that you can provide to the police in the first instance will help speed up the process. The vehicle registrations, any animals or livestock present etc, will all give the police a picture of who (and possibly which group) they are dealing with. This will mean the police have the information to hand when they first come to the site.
Protect Your Land, Be Alert
However, before it gets to that stage we would advise people to be vigilant regarding their land; possibly block any unprotected gateways as many of the local farmers have begun to do.
The police have also warned us to be aware of suspicious activity in the evenings. The usual advice follows:
- lock your doors and windows at night,
- do not keep tools in your vehicles,
- lock your bike sheds etc.
Please contact the police on 101 for non-emergencies and reporting suspicious behaviour; but always dial 999 in the case of an emergency.
We do not wish to worry people unduly, but any precautions that we can all take might help us as a community.
West Bergholt Parish Council