Basildon: Travellers Return To Dale Farm

Families have returned to the UK's largest illegal travellers site in Essex in defiance of a High Court order.

Basildon Council and Essex Police cleared Dale Farm in Essex after violent clashes in October last year (pictured).

On Friday the council said it had been made aware that "a small number of caravans" had moved back on to the area of the site covered by a High Court injunction.

Council leader Tony Ball said: ``Council enforcement officers attended the site this afternoon to talk to the owners of the caravans and to remind them of the consequences of breaching a High Court injunction.

"We also urged them to comply with the law and move away from the injuncted part of the site.

"This swift action shows that the council will take action to ensure compliance with the High Court injunction and ensure that planning law is upheld.''

Last week the authority confirmed it had begun drafting new enforcement notices to remove travellers from a legal site neighbouring Dale Farm. These are expected to be served by the end of January and would give travellers 28 days to vacate the land.

The move could see bailiffs and police take action for a second time, following last year's clearance operation.

An estimated 80 families were removed from the six-acre site following a decade-long row over the settlement on green-belt land. But within weeks at least 10 families had moved back on to roads inside the site.

Although the illegal part had until now remained clear, at least 50 caravans are thought to be located on the neighbouring legal site exceeding its authorised capacity.