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Frequently Asked Questions

Gypsies and Travellers

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

  1. What should i do if i see someone fly tipping either at an unauthorised encampment or elsewhere?
  2. Who is responsible for any fly tipping remaining following an unauthorized encampment?
  3. Are there any residential Gypsy sites in Worcestershire, and if so where are they?
  4. Gypsies / Travellers have moved onto a piece of land near me, what do I do?
  5. How do I apply for a plot on one of the County Council Permanent Gypsy sites?
  6. How do I report a maintenance problem on one of the County Council Residential Gypsy sites?
  7. Do the Police have a duty to do anything about Gypsy / Traveller encampments?
  8. What can the Police do?
  9. Why do Gypsies / Travellers make encampments?
  10. Do councils have a duty to move Gypsies / Travellers when they are encamped without permission?
  11. If Gypsies / Travellers camp on my land what can I do?
  12. What if I decide to let them stay on my land?
  13. I have seen Gypsies / Travellers camping on the side of the road and sometimes on parks or Council owned land. What can the Council do in these cases?
  14. If the encampment is obstructing the public highway will the police move the obstruction?
  15. If the Council want to can they force Gypsies / Travellers off a site immediately?
  16. Can the Courts refuse to grant an order to move Gypsies / Travellers on?

Answers

  1. Q. What should I do if I see someone fly tipping either at an unauthorized encampment or elsewhere?
    A. Contact your local District Council who will be responsible for the prosecution of any identified person/s. If possible pass on relevant details i.e. vehicle type/registration.
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  2. Q. Who is responsible for any fly tipping remaining following an unauthorized encampment?
    A. The first responsibility lies with the person/s responsible for the tipping if they can be identified. However, if they can't be identified it depends on whose land the rubbish has been tipped

    1) On private land – responsibility of the landowner

    2) On or alongside a highway – responsibility of the District Council

    3) On other council land – responsibility of the relevant council

    Report any such incidents to the Worcestershire Hub on 01905 766721
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  3. Q. Are there any residential Gypsy sites in Worcestershire, and if so where are they?
    A. A full list can be found on our Residential Sites webpages.
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  4. Q. Gypsies / Travellers have moved onto a piece of land near me, what do I do?
    A. 1.)  If on private land inform the land owner.

    2.) If on District Council land inform the relevant District Council.

    3.) If on County Council land inform Gypsy Services at the Worcestershire Hub  on 07905 766721.
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  5. Q. How do I apply for a plot on one of the County Council Permanent Gypsy sites?
    A. Contact Gypsy Services on 01905 766721 and make an appointment to call in to complete the application form. Appointments are held on a Monday or a Friday. You will need to bring proof of identity passport/photo/driving licence, proof of national insurance number and proof of current address (if applicable).

    The authority's allocation policy can be found on our Residential Sites webpages.
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  6. Q. How do I report a maintenance problem on one of the County Council Residential Gypsy sites?
    A. Contact Gypsy Services on 01905 766721. If the problem is an emergency and it is out of hours you can report the problem to the number on the back of your rent book where your call will be passed to whichever officer is on call.
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  7. Q. Do the Police have a duty to do anything about Gypsy / Traveller encampments?
    A. The duty of the Police is to preserve the peace and prevent and detect crime. Trespass on land is not a crime. Prevention of trespass is the responsibility of the landowner, not the Police.
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  8. Q. What can the Police do?
    A. In exceptional circumstances a senior Police Officer has the authority to issue a direction to order the trespassers to leave the land. If the trespassers fail to leave the land within reasonable time, they may be liable to arrest and prosecution.

    However the police must be satisfied that the landowner has taken all reasonable steps to ask the trespassers to leave. The protection of property is the landowners responsibility.
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  9. Q. Why do Gypsies / Travellers make encampments?
    A. Gypsies and Travellers have traditionally travelled extensively and regularly throughout Britain. Originally to earn a living; very often, in more modern times, they seek a permanent home/base.

    Traditional work has become scarce but as an adaptable people; as shown throughout the 600 years they have inhabited Britain, Gypsies and Travellers have used their skills to find many types of ways of making a living.

    They are currently however, struggling to find permanent sites on which to settle. Consequently there are many encampments set up for no other reason that a need to stop, rest and try to settle.
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  10. Q. Do councils have a duty to move Gypsies / Travellers when they are encamped without permission?
    A. No. Councils may move the Gypsies / Travellers on, but it will depend on whether they are on public or private land and whether or not they are causing a problem. For further information visit the Gypsies and Travellers main page where the policy can be viewed.
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  11. Q. If Gypsies / Travellers camp on my land what can I do?
    A. Your solicitor can go to the County Court to obtain an order granting you possession of your land. The District Council may offer advice on how to proceed.
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  12. Q. What if I decide to let them stay on my land?
    A. Unless you have already obtained permission for a caravan site, or you are a farm where labourers are helping you for example with fruit picking you may be in breach of planning acts.
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  13. Q. I have seen Gypsies / Travellers camping on the side of the road and sometimes on parks or Council owned land. What can the Council do in these cases?
    A. If the Gypsies / Travellers are causing problems, they will be moved on as is reasonable. If they are not causing a problem, the Government have asked that the site be tolerated for a limited period of time.

    The council will judge each site on it's merits. In all cases the site is visited and every effort is made to ensure that the site is kept tidy and that there are no public health problems.

    In some cases families are waiting for permanent site provision or have health issues that need urgent attention. The Human Rights legislation demands that each and every individual is dealt with in a respectful manner.

    If there are reasons for concern linked to any encampment such as unlawful activity then the action of the Local Authority and the Police Authority should equal that used against any individual no matter who they are.
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  14. Q. If the encampment is obstructing the public highway will the police move the obstruction?
    A. This will depend on the circumstances of the obstruction, and in particular whether or not any actual danger is caused. Where the obstruction is purely 'technical' the police are unlikely to act for this reason alone. (Back to Top)

  15. Q. If the Council want to can they force Gypsies / Travellers off a site immediately?
    A. No. The council must first be able to show that they are on land without the consent of the owner. If the Gypsies / Travellers are required to move they need to be asked. If they refuse they may be served with a notice to leave.

    If they still refuse to move the Council will take the necessary steps to gain a legal order of Possession giving the Gypsies/Travellers typically 24 hours to leave the site.
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  16. Q. Can the Courts refuse to grant an order to move Gypsies / Travellers on?
    A. Yes, although unusual, this is possible particularly if there is an unavoidable reason as to why they cannot leave the site. An order may be withheld until whatever action to resolve the situation is found. Further information on our policy is available on the main Gypsies and Travellers page.
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This page was last reviewed 7 August 2013 at 9:22.
The page is next due for review 3 February 2015.