As we head into the summer months, it’s common to find increasing incidents of travellers and other trespassers settling on private land. This can be frustrating for the owners of that land, many of whom feel intimidated in the presence of a large number of unwanted visitors.
It is a common misconception that once trespassers have settled on your land you are unable to remove them. Terms like “squatter’s rights” are often bandied about that give the impression that travellers may not be moved on without a lengthy legal process.
While there is a legal distinction between squatting and trespassing (squatters need to claim that they have a right to live in the property or land they are occupying), so-called squatter’s rights haven’t been enforceable under law since 2012, when amendments were made to the Housing Act 1977. More significantly, squatter’s rights have never applied to open land.
Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, landowners are permitted to remove trespassers from their property, so long as they only use reasonable force. Official guidance advises the use of Enforcement Officers or other security professionals to do the job, in order that the process is fully-documented and it can be demonstrated that reasonable force alone was used to evict the travellers or trespassers.
A big concern for many landowners is that travellers and trespassers tend to arrive en masse. This can be worrying if you intend to confront them and ask them to leave your property. With a Trespass Response Team you have trained security professionals on your side with years of experience in similar situations. They understand the law as it pertains to trespassing and are not intimidated by large numbers of people.
The sooner you respond to trespassers on your property, the easier it is to remove them. If they have the opportunity to lay down any kind of infrastructure – even if it’s just somewhere to cook, wash, or go to the toilet – it makes the eviction process more complicated. Here at Marpol Security, we can have a Trespass Response Team at your property within an hour or so of you calling.
As a side note: travellers will often arrive at night. Not only does the darkness make it easier to approach your property undiscovered, it gives them a chance to set up a rudimentary camp before they are spotted the following morning. If you become aware of trespassers arriving at any time of the day or night, call Marpol Security to have them moved on.
Our Trespass Response Team is an effective security measure for most situations involving travellers and other trespassers. On the rare occasions that things get out of hand, they have the support of our mobile response teams. These are our first-response units and are found everywhere that Marpol Security has guards or other measures in place. They work rolling shifts, protecting our clients’ interests 24 hours a day.
If our Trespass Response Team needs extra support in the field, they can call in to your local mobile response unit, who will be there in minutes to assist their colleagues.
Our security dogs and experienced handlers are a highly effective asset when removing trespassers from your property. Their strong visual presence lowers the risk of escalation on the travellers’ side; deterring more from arriving and limiting the damage caused.
Once the travellers have been served their formal eviction notice, they have 12 or 24 hours to do so. During that time, our K9 units will patrol the site, keeping an eye on your property and monitoring their movements. This real time insight means that accurate strategic decisions can be made around whether more security operatives are needed.