Sussex Travelers Camps – What can authorities do and what rights do travelers have?

Here’s everything you need to know about Travelers.

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Who are the gypsies and travellers?

An aerial drone photo taken this evening (Tuesday July 12) shows several vehicles parked on the football pitch outside Angmering School in Station Road. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

Gypsies and travelers roam the country as part of a nomadic lifestyle.

As with any other individual, all gypsies and travelers have rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Roma Gypsies and Irish Travelers are also protected from discrimination based on their ethnic origins under the Equality Act 2010.

In 2014, Amnesty International estimated that there were between 200,000 and 300,000 Gypsy and Irish Travelers in the UK.

More than 20 caravans and motorhomes pitched up at Goring Greensward at Marine Drive earlier this week. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

What is an unauthorized campsite?

It is when a group of people with vehicles enter a piece of land with the intention of residing there without the owner’s consent. This is a civil matter and not a criminal offence.

What should the board do?

Council will check how clean the site is, how disruptive it is to local residents and businesses, and whether it obstructs highways or public rights of way.

The travelers have set up camp in the field of the prebendal school.

The board should also check on the general health and well-being of the group and the upbringing of the children.

Usually the board will try to negotiate a departure date with travelers rather than having to go the more expensive legal route.

However, if this is not possible, the council must follow a set procedure which involves proving ownership of the land, giving details of the illegal camp, and then serving notices and summonses in order to successfully obtain a court order to evict travelers from place.

What can you do if they are on private land?

If they camp on private land without the owner’s permission, it is the owner’s responsibility to stop them and evict them. This can be done by asking them to leave and initiating legal proceedings.

Police will visit sites reported to them and if there are six or more vehicles, officers can use powers under section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

They will take action if criminal activity, public disorder or local community disruption can be established.

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