17 April 1997

Police inaction

over travellers angers farmer

BERKSHIRE farmer Eric Jarnet has been landed with a £1800 clean-up bill from the council after travellers and their 30 caravans spent a week on his farm.

While Mr Jarnet, who grows fruit at Twyford Farm, Harehatch, is unhappy at having to foot the bill for clearing all the rubbish left behind by the travellers, he is more incensed by the lack of action by the police.

"They did absolutely nothing," he said. "And I have been made responsible for the whole thing. They just sat back and did nothing."

According to Reading police, no action will be taken against the travellers because they did not cause any criminal damage or threaten violence. The potential cost of removing them from the farm was also a reason for the police inaction.

A police spokeswoman added that Mr Jarnet could pursue civil action at his own cost. "We feel this would be more effective," she said.

Mr Jarnet is warning other farmers to check the position with their own police force about what action officers will take if travellers turn up unannounced and refuse to move.

He claims something can be done because neighbours of his had a similar problem last year, and the police involved (Windsor and Maidenhead) amended section 61 of the Justice Act to enable them to remove the travellers.

"If this can happen with one police force why cant it happen everywhere else?" Mr Jarnet asked. &#42

Catherine Hughes