Fury over travellers 'invasion'

AN Essex businessman facing a large clean-up bill has hit out at the legal system which he claims has left him "powerless" to prevent travellers invading his land.

AN Essex businessman facing a large clean-up bill has hit out at the legal system which he claims has left him "powerless" to prevent travellers invading his land.

John Warren, 61, was speaking after caravans, lorries and cars moved on to his open space near the Tollgate Centre, Stanway near Colchester.

Despite putting heavy-duty chains and padlocks on the gates, Mr Warren discovered the chains had been cut and his field was occupied at the weekend.

However, because there is no evidence of a criminal activity taking place, the matter is a civil one and legally Essex Police are unable to intervene.


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At the site yesterday transit vans came and left the land and trucks dumped rubbish on the field.

Mr Warren, who hopes to redevelop the Stane Park site for hi-tech business use, said he was fearful of approaching the travellers.

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He said: "I am not going near them. They were here three weeks ago before they moved on and now they have moved back.

"Last year they were here and left 13 cars behind which cost me £1,300 to take them away. The only action left to me is to involve solicitors and get an injunction.

Essex Police said they spoken to Mr Warren.A spokesman said: "The legal position is that we only have powers to act if there has been criminal action. When it is private land and there is not criminal action taking place it is a civil matter."

n Colchester MP Bob Russell has been elected as vice-chairman of an all-party committee which is calling on the Government to provide more assistance to councillors and travellers in establishing permanent sites.

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