It’s time for the trespass loopholes to be tightened

COMMENT: People need to have viable alternative to driving

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The reappearance of travellers in Fareham will set alarms bells ringing for those who now expect to see more camps like this pop up over the summer months.

And those fears will be well-founded if past experience is anything to go by.

How many times have we seen travellers move on to a site, sparking a costly game of cat and mouse as a council or landowner seeks to take action against them through the courts?

Inevitably the wheels will have been set in motion, only for the travellers to leave at the 11th hour, proving that the existing framework of action is deeply flawed.

How many more times must we put up with seeing piles of rubbish left behind for others to clean up when the caravans have gone?

As a society, we need to show understanding and tolerance towards those who choose to live a different lifestyle to our own. Being out on the road is important to the travelling community.

But that doesn’t mean we have to accept people riding rough-shod over the rules.

The fact of the matter is that the six caravans that have moved on to the site of the former Focus DIY store are trespassing.

If they don’t move on of their own accord, the onus will fall on the landlord to get things moving and we know that can be a costly affair.

So it’s clear that there are loopholes that need tightening in relation to how councils and landowners can deal with travellers who move on to their sites.

Why can’t tougher measures now be introduced to allow action to be taken quicker?

A countdown should begin the moment a landowner applies to the courts for a hearing date, with eviction notices issued immediately.

Landowners must play their part by making sure they do all they can to secure their sites. In this case, the travellers used the same tactic as before to get in, simply driving over a grass verge.

Ultimately, we must learn lessons from the past.

The government must look again at this issue and show it now has the foresight to make some meaningful changes.