Caravans Return To Dale Farm

At least 10 families have moved back onto Dale Farm after bailiffs and Basildon council officials finished their clearance operation.

The action to remove caravans and chalets from 51 unauthorised plots on the Crays Hill site was completed on Monday and Basildon Council obtained an injunction to prevent them returning.

But caravans have now returned to the illegal half of the site while many other remain on the legal side, exceeding what is allowed.

Some said they planned to stay unless the council provided an alternative, others are resigned to the fact they will be forced to move on.

Council bosses said they were monitoring the situation and would resist any attempt to reoccupy Dale Farm.

Patrick Egan, who is entitled to remain in his house on the illegal site, said: ``Nobody would want to live here - the site is a mess and we have to use a generator for power.

``I am allowed to stay but I don't want to. We have come back because we have nowhere to go.

He also warned that travellers forced to go will occupy car parks and roadsides in Basildon.

Daniel Sheridan, 67, said: ``This isn't home anymore. It is cold and like living in a war zone. But we need to stay somewhere and can't be out on the road over winter.''

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said attempts to reoccupy the site would be unacceptable and put them in contempt of court.

He added: ``Likewise, we are now looking carefully at any breaches on the legal pitches.

``The only way forward to the travellers in the long-term is to obey the law, follow rules and regulations and cooperate with local councils like ours.''

The clearance followed a decade-long row over unauthorised plots on the travellers' site. At its peak, some 400 people lived on Dale Farm.

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