Thurrock Council and Essex Police take on more unauthorised traveller encampments

Update: 0900 hrs

Essex Police have reported that the travellers have moved on from Stanford Recreation Ground.

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ESSEX Police and Thurrock Council worked long into the night as they faced a number of unauthorised traveller encampments in the borough.

Encampments parked up at Stanford Recreation Ground and North Stifford.

Council leader, Rob Gledhill said: “This action is beginning to show that Thurrock will no longer be a ‘soft touch’ when it comes to illegal encampments within our borough.

“I have been in contact with the Chief Executive, councillors and Essex Police throughout the day and well into the night.

“I’m pleased that Essex Police responded quickly and have been on site putting their powers into action – we are committed to taking a zero-tolerance approach to illegal activity in our community.

“Cllr Pauline Tolson, Shane Hebb and Terry Piccolo, ward councillors, have been at Stanford Rec this evening and are both on the case.

“The council’s communications team has been receiving on the ground updates from the police and has been sharing them through social media channels to ensure people are kept up to date on developments.

“I fully appreciate that Section 61 cannot be applied to every situation, but residents should be assured that we, as a council, are pushing our police partners to use it every time they can.”

Section 61 allows police to assess an encampment and if it meets certain criteria, can enable powers to move it on much more quickly.

Cllr Gledhill added: “We know that two encampments have already been swiftly moved on today and a section 61 is being served to the encampment at Stanford Rec within an hour but gives encampment until 10am tomorrow to depart.

“I can appreciate Essex Police have competing priorities and tonight I know they have been especially busy with serious matters so their commitment to our ongoing situation is appreciated.”

“That said, I have requested they reconsider their 10 am deadline – obviously I, and residents, would rather it was earlier but I really appreciate all of their efforts today especially considering the vast incidents – including very serious ones – across of Thurrock.

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