Harlow Council and police action sees large unauthorised traveller encampment leave town “within hours”

Crime / Thu 31st Aug 2023 at 01:59pm

THIS afternoon (31 August 2023) a large unauthorised traveller encampment made up of 12 caravans and 13 vehicles has been removed from council-owned land behind Berecroft. The encampment has now left the town with a police escort up the M11 and out of Harlow altogether. The site has now been re-secured and the clean-up of the area is underway.

Councillor Dan Swords, the Leader of Harlow Council, has praised the swift work by Essex Police and council’s community safety and legal teams who have resolved the situation within 24 hours. The council and police worked together to use section 61 powers to remove the encampment immediately. Councillor Swords, said:

“As soon as we were informed of the situation last night, we worked with the police immediately and within a matter of hours the encampment has moved on and left the town. I am sorry to hear of the issues the encampment caused local residents and that is why we acted safely and swiftly with the full force of the law, not relying on a long drawn-out legal process, but instead taking strong and direct action using the existing powers that are available.

“I sincerely thank the police and the council’s community safety and legal teams who worked at great pace to resolve this.

“The action we take will always be about upholding the law, responding to the concerns of residents and businesses, and protecting the town’s open spaces.”

Residents can report unauthorised encampments to 01279 446655 during office hours, 01279 446666 out of hours or via 101 at any time.

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26 Comments for Harlow Council and police action sees large unauthorised traveller encampment leave town “within hours”:

2023-08-31 14:09:40

Well done to Harlow Council and Harlow Police. We cannot have these unauthorised encampments ruining our town. I understand they left a lot of litter and mess.

2023-08-31 14:58:49

What about the mess in fern Hill Lane where there is a permanent site, looks like a rubbish tip, don't these people have any pride where they live

2023-08-31 14:59:33

Such a shame,probably build homes on the area before long.🤣

John Galajsza
2023-08-31 15:26:52

Hi Dan I took a stroll over to the Berecroft field were we stood last night and all the Caravans were gone, a lovely little old lady in her 80’s who has lived in Berecroft for 41 years told me she was horrified to see the Caravans on the football pitch, she said her little terrier dog Ben was too scared to go for his morning walk…when I told her you and your Harlow council team were responsible for getting the Caravans moved on so quickly she was relieved and asked me to pass on her thanks and gratitude 🙏 Congratulations Dan Swords and team another job for Harlow well done👏

James Leppard
2023-08-31 15:48:18

This decisive action coincides with the wishes of the majority of residents to have a zero tolerance for unauthorised encampments on public land. The mess and damage created is completely unacceptable. This is the fourth illegal encampment this council and Harlow police have cleared. It completely unfair that Harlow taxpayers should lose amenities because of these anti-social trespasses. This Council will continue to enforce the full rigour of the law under Section 61 in these circumstances.

Kim Oconnor
2023-08-31 18:43:26

It's a pity, that this council doesn't have the same value for town centre, or the town it self... the Harvey centre, and surrounding is disgraceful, I've just seen pictures of it.. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you don't provide stop of places for traveling people, this will continue.

Tim Shaw
2023-08-31 20:03:49

Why not allocate a piece of land for this purpose, time limited for 1 or 2 weeks from when they have arrived so they can then go and "travel", provide bins and empty the bins on a regular basis. This way there should be no need to go on other land and leave it in the state it normally is. If they then go on other land then do what's been done and remove them.

2023-08-31 20:27:39

Thank you so much to all involved in the swift work to bringing back the green fields in the park to it’s natural beauty, making it a safe place for young & old locals to use again! 🙌👏👏👏

2023-09-01 00:23:15

Kim O'Connor and Tim Shaw, why don't we allocate a piece of land right on your doorstep for them! People don't want them here. The Council is doing the right thing by the law and for the town.

Harlow resident
2023-09-01 07:17:20

Molly 100% with you on that one !!

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-01 07:36:59

Molly, we have had gypsy s on our lands for centuries, they Are part of our history. You are never going to stop this... If councils don't provide stop of places ,this will continue....And just for the record, I walked my dogs in nettswell woods, where travelling people have pitched up, , and I'll tell you now, I felt safer with them being there,,, than all the tents that are in woodland.... Least we know who they are...

2023-09-01 07:43:33

Nobody wants travelers....why? Its the rubbish, human $%#@, thieving, and general disrespect these poeple have for anyone or anything.....they do bring the anger from locals onto themselves tbh.

Jamie W
2023-09-01 07:48:19

Tim Shaw wants our council rates to pay for facilities on temporary sites? Nice Idea Tim, but I'm pretty sure Travellers don't pay anything into the local area so why should we pay for it?

2023-09-01 08:42:43

There is a lot of people in Harlow that shouldnt be here and they are going around intimidating many women,i wish the police etc would move them on as quick.It seems women and girls safety has well and truly been forgotten about.

Bill Henderson
2023-09-01 09:31:53

Kim O'Connor did you not hear that these so called travellers threatened and assaulted an 80 year old caretaker who tried to stop them entering, broke the padlocks and gates, stole so much from the Co-op that it had to close, were shitting on public grounds. You think that is acceptable? If so you have a screw loose. The laws should be tougher that they are made to make good all damage and clear all mess before leaving and if not Police or bailiffs can seize their property. We don't want them here. They are illegal. Get it into your head!

2023-09-01 09:55:11

Bill Henderson..... "Hear, Hear!!!"

2023-09-01 13:27:10

Shame they can't get rid of all the illegal migrants aswell

2023-09-01 13:50:15

Your right Steve; about the mess up Fern Hill Lane near the permanent site. Stolen vehicles, stripped for parts and then set on fire. Thick toxic black smoke polluting area even as far as Bush Fair depending on wind. Happens at least twice a month. A van even stolen from Lodge Hall found burnt out up Fern Hill Lane recently. Police seem afraid to do anything. Essex County Council even resurfacing the road a couple of years back! Not pleasant living near by.

Michael B Hatton
2023-09-01 15:45:46

Disgraceful state of affairs but, well done for the rapid attention to activate the relevant laws to to remove the itinerants. The whole group were absolutely slammed by our council leaders and our local police, brilliant job by all. Much appreciated by all.

James Leppard
2023-09-01 17:30:32

Michael B Hatton and others, as stated, this Council has a zero tolerance towards illegal encampments in our district. On each occasion, we have taken immediate action to intervene and remove these trespassers, fully aware of the distress and anguish these encampments cause to residents and the damage and anti-social behaviour entailed. Rest assured measures will be taken to impede access to potential sites and that all legal powers will be brought to bear. As a Councillor for Harlow Common, I receive constant complaints from residents in my ward who are directly affected by ASB from the Fern Hill site: vandalism, fires, attempted burglaries, even being attacked with air rifles. I agree it an outrage and a blight on our town. It is interesting that these unfortunate incidents never arouse any response from any Harlow Labour councillors or from the Harlow Alliance Party or Green Party.

2023-09-01 18:55:02

Some absolutely disgusting bigotry on display from the people of Harlow in these comments. It's sad to see. Shame on the council for failing in it's statutory duty to identify land for these people to stop on. Instead they immediately collaborate with the heavy-handed police to make people's lives a misery. A failure all round.

2023-09-01 21:54:47

Shame some harlow people cant be removed quickly by police and council,to many wanabe gangsters here,🤭😆😆

James Leppard
2023-09-02 08:03:00

Billy, you are completely wrong. Harlow has two designated traveller sites within its district and for your information the designation of such sites is vested with Essex County Council. Secondly, this Council is acting fully within the law in its enforcement of measures against unauthorised encampments that constitute a criminal trespass. Please refer to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPO Act) sets out the main police powers to respond to unauthorised encampments and Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC Act) significantly amended the CJPO Act and expanded the powers that police have in relation to unauthorised encampments. The amended powers came into force for England and Wales on 28 June 2022. The actions of Harlow Council and Harlow police are entirely within both the spirit and letter of the law designed to protect the public. My first duty is to represent the residents of my ward and of this town and I am pretty certain when speaking with many of them that your views on this would not find favour. Your allegation of bigotry is completely unfounded; opposing unlawful acts is not bigotry.

2023-09-02 23:13:10

I come from there. Grew up next to the fern hill lane site. Traveller's aren't the problem. They're some of the most genuine, family orientated and kind people I've met. The persecution of traveller's is modern day racism at its finest. Those fields are large and there is enough room for them without disturbing other people's dog walking or walks along side the cornfields. There has been a travelling community present in that area before there were houses or non travelers dwelling there. There is miles of fields and open land from there(bare croft back fields) leading up along the a414 & all around the back of potterstreet that remains unused or left for horse grazing. Fact is, they have been here for generations. They belong here as much as any one.

Liz Baker
2023-09-26 12:56:19

I support the upholding of the law 100%, but I'm disappointed at the lack of balance in this article, the quote from Councillor Swords and in the comments beneath. Travellers are people with homes, families, hopes and dreams and their humanity goes unrecognised in this article.

Jennifer merritt
2023-11-16 19:05:15

Steve yes most of them have pride but for but for a small amount of People that live on the site they cause they cause the mess they have water leaves that have been going for up to3 years right next to electricity supply its so dangerous give those who try so hard to live decent a chance

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