Unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Craven area

Find information about how the council approaches Gypsies and Travellers on a public open space or other land.

Occasionally there are unauthorised encampments within the Craven area. 

Councils and police have powers to evict unlawful trespassers but must follow specific procedures if they are to successfully obtain an eviction order from the courts.

Here are some frequently asked questions that explain what action can be taken and what powers we and the police have in relation to illegal encampments. 

Does the council have a duty to move Gypsies and Travellers on when they are camped on private land without permission?

No. If Gypsies and Travellers are camped on private land, it is usually the landowner's responsibility. We will attend the site to complete a needs assessment and visit regularly to distribute waste collection bags. We recommend landowners seek their own independent, legal advice.

What can the landowner do?

Talk to the Gypsies and Travellers to see if a leaving date can be agreed. If not, you may need to seek advice from your solicitor and apply to court for an eviction.

What if the landowner decides to let the Gypsies and Travellers stay on the land?

This may be a breach of planning or licensing regulations. You may wish to seek further advice from our environmental health team, who have powers of enforcement and will initially deal with illegal encampments.

What can the police do?

Trespass on private land is not a criminal offence, so the removal of trespassers is the responsibility of the landowner. However, the police can get involved if there is a criminal offence committed or public disorder.

How long will it take for the Gypsies and Travellers to be removed from council land?

This will depend on the circumstance of each case. In all cases we have to apply to court for an eviction date and if there is an unavoidable reason for Gypsies and Travellers to stay on the site or if the court believes that the council has failed to make adequate enquiries regarding the general health and welfare of Gypsies and Travellers, they can refuse to grant an eviction.