UPDATE: Friday, February 9
An unauthorised traveller encampment in Billericay have moved on ahead of enforcement action today (Friday, February 9).
The site at Crays Hill Recreation Park was vacated peacefully overnight after a section 61 notice was served on Wednesday, February 7, ordering the sites to be vacated today.
Superintendent Nick Morris said: “We continue to offer our thanks to members of the community for their patience as we handled this situation both robustly and sensitively.
"I fully understand the frustrations that many members of the public feel, especially in relation to the considerable damage that was caused earlier in the week at Hannakins Farm.
"As I have said previously I would encourage those that witnessed the damage being caused to come forward so that my officers can locate and arrest those that were responsible.
"Whilst I appreciate that the thought of giving evidence may be daunting it is only by working together that we can take positive action.
I had officers at Hannakins Farm ready to make arrests but at the time the witnesses were unwilling to identify to us those that were responsible.
“I would like to thank our partners, Basildon Council, for their work with us in securing the Section 61 notice quickly through the courts.
"Anyone with information should contact Basildon police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
ORIGINAL POST: Thursday, February 8
We’re continuing to work with Basildon Council to deal with unauthorised traveller encampments in Billericay.
Since Monday, January 29, there have been travellers at Hannakins Farm, Radford Crescent and at the Crays Hill Recreation Park.
We have used our section 61 powers where the correct criteria have been met and Basildon Council has also successfully obtained a court order.
The most recent section 61 notice was served on Wednesday, February 7, and officers will enforce this notice on Friday, February 9, if the land has not been vacated.
Officers are continuing to investigate reports of criminal damage at Hannakins Farm and we are asking anyone who witnessed any damage to contact us.
Supt Nick Morris said: “I am very aware of the feelings of local communities and the disruption and concern these unauthorised encampments have caused to residents.
“Where appropriate we will not hesitate to serve Section 61 notices – as we have done - to force groups to move from the land they are occupying as trespassers.
“We are monitoring the situation and have plans in place to enforce the notice if the travellers do not comply.
“We are working closely with Basildon Council and have received verbal reports of criminal damage at Hannakins Farm, which we are investigating.
“To date people that have witnessed the damage being caused have declined to support our investigation. We would urge anyone that witnessed the damage being caused to the playing pitches to contact us so that we can take positive action.”
Police can only use Section 61 powers if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate in the individual circumstances.
The act of trespass is a civil matter and we work with landowners to try and resolve this matters as quickly as possible.
Unauthorised encampments are subject to regular site assessments and where criminal offences are committed and allegations of anti-social behaviour are made, we will make every effort to hold those responsible to account for their actions.
Anyone with information should contact Basildon police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.