Over recent weeks our company has been dealing with a group of travellers who are terrorising businesses in London and the South of England.
Groups of between 8 and 14 caravans turn up on commercial premises car parks and commercial land, particularly ones with lockable gates, on an evening. They remove the lock and move quickly onto the site. They put their own lock onto the gates and put up section 6 notices.
Section 6 notices are where a squatter occupies a commercial property and puts up notices for the attention of anyone thinking about evicting them. These notices are there to inform such persons that it is a criminal offence to use force to enter a property in order to evict someone without a court order.
Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 states:
OFFENCES RELATING TO ENTERING AND REMAINING ON PROPERTY
6.-(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, any violence for person who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens violence securing entry for the purpose of securing entry into any premises for himself or for any other person is guilty of an offence, provided that-
(a) there is someone present on those premises at the time who is opposed to the entry which the violence is intended to secure ; and
(b) the person using or threatening the violence knows that that is the case.
(2) The fact that a person has any interest in or right to possession or occupation of any premises shall not for the purposes of subsection (1) above constitute lawful authority for the use or threat of violence by him or anyone else for the purpose of securing his entry into those premises.
There are legal ways of getting round this on open land so an eviction can take place without the time and expense of a court order. Never give in to blackmail and pay.
The group of travellers in question are very hostile. They immediately start to dump large volumes of waste and rubble on the site, to increase the pressure on the site owner.
The travellers then approach the site owner and offer to move for a fee. This fee varies but is often around £4,000
We always recommend that the site owner does NOT pay. If you do, you will create a larger problem for yourself.
A landlord recently instructed us to evict travellers from a commercial property in the London area. They told us they had made the mistake of paying one group.
They had negotiated the fee down to £1,500 and thought that would be cheaper than a court order.
The problem was that this group of travellers told another group of travellers. Within days another group moved onto the land. This time they wanted £5,000
This new group put up the section 6 notices and started dumping rubbish.
Once we were instructed we put an operation into place that involved a number of bailiffs, security officers with dogs, the Police and building contractor.
We managed to take the site back within 48 hours, despite a massive resistance from the travellers and limited support from the Police.
This was all done for a lot less than the £5,000 that the travellers wanted. It sent out a clear message that the company would not succumb to organised blackmail.
During a conversation with one of the travellers he admitted to one of our bailiffs that they made 80% of their income from what he termed “pay offs”.
Site owners should regularly review their security precautions and consider putting height barriers on any car par to stop caravans being towed onto them.
Quality Bailiffs has over twenty five years of experience in completing fast land recovery from travellers.
Got trespassers? Need them evicted? Need advice? Call Quality Bailiffs.
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