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Parish conference meeting discusses unauthorised travellers

Kieran Bell

Plans to turn former Indian restaurant into flats due before the Royal Borough

Travellers have been moved on ‘very quickly’ by police in all cases of unauthorised trespassing, a parish conference was told on Tuesday.

The meeting at Windsor Guildhall heard from Bray Parish Council clerk Susan Cook, who advised parish councillors on how best to deal with unauthorised encampments.

She recommended council groups create a timeline of traveller activity and phone 101 to report any such cases, and said any talking should be done by police when trying to move travellers off a patch of land.

Mrs Cook reassured parish councillors that they ‘can take measures to prevent the possibility of unlawful incursions’. These include obtaining a Section 61 notice from police if they believe damage has been caused or threatening behaviour displayed.

They should also strive to acquire an eviction notice, she said.

“Trespassing is not a criminal offence, but a civil one and it proves to be difficult to get together with the police to deal with problems,” Mrs Cook said.

“The parish council is considered a landowner and has the same rights in law as private landowners.

“This will take up a lot of your time – travellers will turn up and they know they will not be kicked off overnight. We have liaised with residents and the Royal Borough, and will continue to do so.”

David Scott, the borough’s head of leisure, culture and public realm, said: “In fairness to the police, they have been very good.

“In every incident we have had this year – 16 or 17 across the borough as a whole – we have managed to get the travellers moved on very quickly.

“The duty inspector will be responsible for deciding whether (the police) will or will not use their Section 61 powers.”

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