Illegal encampments

I have been asked to look into the law allowing landlords or the public authorities to ask people to move who are living in caravans and other temporary accommodation on land without permission. There is a current case in Arborfield that is worrying some residents.

There are two main legal routes to sort these out. The first is the landowner has a right to go to court to get a court order to ask the people to move off the land. This is usually granted and is enforceable. In the Arborfield case the land is owned by the MOD who assure me they are taking this action when I followed up at the request of a constituent.

The second is a provision in the criminal law under the 1994 Criminal Justice Act. This allows the police to act quickly to move people on where there is evidence that they are causing nuisance. Residents who think they are should provide the evidence to the police.

The issues in this case seem to be one ones about speed of enforcement, as the law allows action to be taken.


  1. Local Lad
    August 27, 2017

    The trouble is that this all takes time and costs money. Clearly there is an innocent party who suffers because of the actions of a guilty party. Is it beyond our lawmakers to devise a means to ensure that these invasions don’t happen in the first place?

  2. Peejos
    August 27, 2017

    I am a trustee of a small charity . Last year for over 8 months a lorry was parked on our carpark. The driver who was not a national, slept aboard it at night time, before driving away early each day. He had no other home.

    As a charity are we supposed to use our very limited funds to go to court? As most officials work normal hours there is nobody to actually engage with the driver. After almost daily requests he finally drove off not to be seen again.

    What sort of nuisance could be described that would justify police involvement. Naturally as the car park is on private land they are disinclined to act otherwise.

    That is where new legislation is essential

    1. alan jutson
      August 27, 2017


      Seems such a simple matter to make it a criminal offence to trespass on another property.

      If I am correct, the law recently changed with regards to house squatting which I think is now regarded as a criminal action not civil as in the past.
      Although squatting in Commercial premises is still a civil matter as I understand it, although I stand to be corrected.

      The law needs to catch up with what is going on in the real World.

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