THE Leader of Thurrock Council has welcomed the swift action taken by Essex Police in moving on the multiple unauthorised encampments across the borough last week (Thursday 18 August).
Within hours of arriving, the encampments were moved on despite it being a very busy night for Essex Police.
The Leader of the Council, Chief Executive and councillors were working with Essex Police long into the night to get encampments in North Stifford, Stanford Le Hope and Corringham moved on as quickly as possible.
Speaking on Friday (19 August) morning from Stanford Rec where the final encampment was cleared at 9.15am, Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “I am pleased to say that these unauthorised encampments have now been moved on and teams from the environment department have attended to clean up and assess what damage has been caused to access the area.
“Councillors, officers and I have been in constant contact with Essex Police since these encampments arrived in Thurrock, pressing them to act swiftly and use their powers fully.”
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: “In around 12 hours of the encampment arriving at Stanford Rec, they had been moved on and the area cleared of rubbish. Essex Police also seized a vehicle for not having insurance during the operation.
“We have been in contact with the local rugby club and thankfully no damage appears to have been caused to the pitches. I’d like to thank them for their patience and support while we worked with the police.
“We have a zero-tolerance approach to this illegal activity in our community and will continue to support and encourage Essex Police to do everything within their power to resolve these situations without delay. We have shown once again that we are not a soft-touch.
“I said last night, and I’ll say again – Essex Police have done a wonderful job and we are confident they will continue to do so – I know the residents appreciate it, as do I.”