Caution urged over Dale Farm eviction

Farmers have been urged to take sensible precautions as travellers facing eviction from an illegal encampment in Essex issued a desperate plea for land.

After months of legal wrangling, riot police and bailiffs moved in to evict families from 49 illegal plots on the site at Dale Farm, near Basildon. The eviction finally got under way on Wednesday (19 October).

Local residents have been blocking field entrances with farm machinery following fears that evicted travellers could set up camp on nearby farmland. The NFU has circulated police advice to its members across East Anglia.

Farmers could take a number of practical steps to prevent trespassers entering their land, said the union. These included putting chains and locks on gates, digging ditches and removing cattle grids.

But any measures taken to obstruct entry should be reasonable and not endanger lives, the NFU warned. “Landowners and occupiers can be liable for injury to and loss sustained by trespassers as a result of known hazards on the land.”

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said: “We are staying until we are forced from our land because we have nowhere else to go. Everyone we know is here on Dale Farm, all our families and friends. Who else is there to turn to?”

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