There appears to be a group of travellers that are costing companies hundreds of thousands of pounds in damage to buildings.
They gain access to buildings with car parks and strip the copper from the building. They take advantage of ineffective laws, limited police resources, and insufficient building physical security.
This group of travellers targets commercial premises. They use loopholes in the law to steal from companies to fund their lifestyle.
A good target is a large warehouse or disused offices with a car park. The larger the car park the better. The more secluded the premises the better.
There is an Incursion during the night to occupy the car park.
The thieves split into two groups; first group by the gate (the look outs), and the second group out of sight around the back (the raiders).
They cut the power to the building by destroying the electrical substation.
Under the cover of darkness they break into your property and strip out the copper cable and wiring, and anything else of value.
This can not be true. Surely the Police would be able to sort this.
You might think so. However here are the details of a recent case.
One Friday evening between 18.00 and 21.00 a group of trespassers arrived at a business warehouse situated on the edge of an industrial estate. There were 11 caravans and towing vehicles, and 2 or 3 scrap collection type wagons.
Their story was that they had been travelling about looking for somewhere to park up for the night. They had by pure chance conveniently found the gate open.
(This must have been after some other person had cut off the high security padlock on the gate shortly before they arrived.)
The convoy drove quickly into the car park and then split into two groups. One small group close to the gate and a larger group towards the other end of the car park. Over 40 people including children descended from these vehicles.
The company security guard had been at the other side of the site on a patrol. He challenged the travellers. You can imagine the torrent of abuse and threats he got from such a large group.
The security guard called the police. But as there was no evidence to say “who” had cut the lock, there was no offence.
The travelling trespassers stated they were just using the land to sleep on for a few nights as they had travelled a long way.
The Police said therefore there is no criminal offence; the matter is a civil issue. And as the law stands the Police were correct.
The business tried to get additional security guards to protect the warehouse. But late at night at short notice there were was none available. This is a very common occurrence when trying to get security staff immediately at night.
A few hours later all the lights and power at the site went out. The security guard started to walk up towards the first group of trespassers and he was confronted by half a dozen of them. He had no choice but to retreat.
The police were again called. The travellers denied threatening the guard and claimed that they had nothing to do with the electricity outage. Result, no evidence no crime. The Police left.
The following day, Saturday, an extra security guard with a dog was sent to reinforce the guard. Together the two of them tried to patrol the whole site again and were confronted this time by over a dozen travellers making threats and blocking their access.
The police were again called. The trespassers claimed that they had been attacked by the guard dog. This they claimed had occurred during an attempt to stage some kind of illegal eviction by the security guards.
As the Police could not remain on site, and the travellers were still refusing to move, the Police were powerless.
The security guards could patrol the front and access the warehouse through the front door but could not get past the trespassers to get around the whole building.
After the Police left the guards found someone had super glued the doors on the front door. The result was that they could not access the building at all. They assumed this was retaliation for calling the Police.
All through the rest of Saturday and Sunday the travellers were bashing scrap up at the back of their wagons and setting fires going around the encampment to the rear. These Trespassers were constantly coming and going with all sorts on the back of the wagons.
On Monday morning Enforcement Bailiffs was contacted. By lunchtime our team arrived and served them notice to leave immediately. They said they would go that evening once they had found another site. By 19.00 on the Monday evening the security guards had confirmed to the directors of the business that the had not left.
The bailiff eviction team had been booked to attend at 08.00 and get the travellers raised out of bed before they start going to work for the day. The police did not have resource available to attend with the bailiffs to do an eviction - another common occurrence.
The bailiffs attended on their own. After an hour or so of knocking at each van and asking them to leave they were all awake, but resistant to moving. The senior bailiff then negotiated with the senior trespasser for a peaceful resolution without the need to risk a violent reaction by towing them off. They agreed to leave by 12.00 noon
The business was presented with the options and opted to wait until 12.00 before calling the tow truck and 999 for the Police. By 12.00 the trespassers moved off the site.
The staff from the business then returned to the site with the security guards. When they checked the warehouse it had been broken into and they had gone through it stripping out all the pipes boilers copper cable, CCTV footage, stock. The estimate on the damage is in excess of £150k.
We have knowledge of similar incidents where we have evicted travellers near Leeds, and near Wigan.
A few weeks ago our traveller eviction team evicted over 30 caravans from a car park of a commercial premises in London. The travellers had also looted the site.
As a result of this Quality Bailiffs has designed a rapid solution in conjunction with its strategic security partners.
For high risk situations a solution can be provided via our Security partners who will deploy an Emergency Deployment Team, EDT, as soon as possible.
This team will consist of specialist security officers that are supported by dog teams. This team will deploy both inside and outside of your property. We also arrange for the travellers to be served at the same time. This service should help protect your assets until the bailiffs get them evicted approximately 24 hours later.
Quality Bailiffs has over twenty five years of experience in completing land recovery from travellers.
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