Evicting Gypsies/Travellers: The Do’s and Dont’s

on Thursday, 29 June 2017.

We receive many enquiries in regards to unauthorised Travellers and Gypsies on private property. They might not be there with malicious intentions, but whether they are causing a disruption or not, you do have the legal right to try and evict them. In this guide, we’re going to breakdown what you can and can’t legally do when it comes to evicting Gypsies and Travellers.

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Potential risks

To be absolutely clear – not everyone on private property is there with malicious intentions. They may not realise that it is off-limits; they may be there because they have nowhere else to go, or for any number of reasons. However, a volatile crowd on private property does bring with it a lot of potential risks.

There have been many reports of materials like metal and copper being stolen and sold for scrap, damage to land, damage to windows and properties, and much more. For those reasons, you should act quickly.

What to do with Gypsies/Travellers

Communication is vital in the early stages, and you should approach them in a friendly manner and try to find out what their situation is. If they plan on leaving in a few hours and it’s only a short stay, then further action might not be required.  If a date cannot be agreed upon, then further action can be taken and an eviction court order can be produced.

However, what you can and can’t do depends on the type of land they’re on, and whether it’s private or public.

Private Land

The police can be brought in to help deal with the situation, and can use their powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 if they believe the parties are causing a disturbance on private land. However, these powers may generally only be used in cases of serious disorder and criminality; trespassing is a civil offence, not a criminal offence, which limits what the police can do. Progress at this stage is often slow – if any progress is made at all.

A faster approach would be to use a third-party security firm. We believe that a canine security service is the best choice, as dogs are generally treated with more gravity and respect than human guards; and this is actually a security service we provide. K9 Patrol have a good level of knowledge and understanding in eviction and trespass law, and can therefore carry out speedy evictions. Our canine teams are deployed to secure the assets until the eviction has been executed, and our dogs are often used as static or roaming patrols, which consistently helps protect property and minimise disturbances.

The services we provide cover the complete end-to-end process of eviction; from issuing an eviction notice (which we can do as soon as we’re appointed), to securing assets until the Gypsies and/or Travellers have left.

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Public Land

If they are on public land, then the council must be informed, as they will have the power to intervene in this situation. For them to make progress with the eviction however, they have to do the following first:

  • Prove that the Gypsies/Travellers are on land without consent
  • Make enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children’s education
  • Ensure that the 1998 Human Rights Act is being followed at all times

Similar to the laws concerning private property, the police can also only intervene here if they are breaking the law in some other way. However, if there is an unavoidable reason for the Gypsies and/or Travellers being there, then the court may refuse to grant the council an order to move them on.

What you shouldn’t do with Gypsies/Travellers

Acting aggressively and threatening people may only make a situation worse, so we would always recommend that you seek help from the government, police and licensed firms. The council will be unable to help because the Gypsies/Travellers lawful eviction is the responsibility of the private land owner, so it is better to focus your time elsewhere instead of trying to contact them.

Still need more information?

If this article has not helped you sufficiently with your situation, then we would recommend taking a closer look at trespass law here, which will help you understand the extent of government and police powers in a situation like this. We are always available for contact on 01423 551526 and on email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to speed up the eviction process with us.

(Images: Tim Cook, Harrogate Informer)

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