Trespassers and Private Land

Posted 1:01 14 December 2013

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In this country the scarcity of land is fast becoming a large problem for people. Many years ago, before the land was so densely populated, it was easier for travellers to pitch their camps wherever they so wished. People travelling to summer festivals sometimes think they can camp anywhere they please. For local landowners who own stretches of open land, the problem of trespassers is becoming more and more serious, especially when trespassers move onto their land and refuse to leave.

But this problem not only affects those who own agricultural and open land, but also includes those who own and operate on commercial land such as businesses on trading estates. In such cases this can have a detrimental effect on the business as incidents of crime, disorder and vandalism are often commonplace once trespassers encampments occur.
So, the question arises, what can be done in such situations to remove these trespassers from your land?
Well, there may be a risk to personal safety when attempting to remove the trespassers yourself. Also, this can count against the landowner and their legal standing in such situations.
It is actually more effective to enlist the help of bailiff services who can take action on the landowner’s behalf and obtain an order for possession of the land. The professionals can quickly implement the process and in most cases the travellers will have been moved on within 24 hours of us being instructed to do so. The bailiff services can also gather information and do research on the landowner’s behalf to help strengthen the case against the trespassers.
The CEO of Alpha 1 Legal Services, who was recently interviewed by the media on the subject stated “as is the case with all illegal trespassers sites on private land, if landowners go though the ‘normal’ procedures, it can sometimes take up to 28 days before the landowner can even contemplate having the trespassers removed. The process that we undertake is the removal of the trespasser without the need to resort to a Court Order! It is really easy to implement and is completed under two separate laws dating back to the 19th century, and more recently under Home Office guidelines under common law and Tort law.
At first we would ask them to leave by serving them Notice to Vacate (on behalf of the landowner). Sometimes this works and the travellers will vacate the land within a few hours of being served. However, some will come up with excuses as to why they need to stay. Sometimes they accept this and are grateful for being given the extra time to move, sometimes they get a little aggressive and point blank refuse to move. The next day when the bailiffs turn up to remove them it turns into a process of negotiation, with give and take on both sides, thus preventing a breach of the peace. If this procedure fails, then it would be time to call for a tow truck and the Police to prevent a breach of the peace, this is however extremely rare!”