Travellers Move Back To Dale Farm

Travellers who fled the UK's largest illegal site in Essex amid fears of eviction have moved back in as the barricaded main gate was opened following an 11th-hour court victory.

Residents of Dale Farm won a court injunction on Monday, preventing the clearance of 51 unauthorised plots until Friday.

The injunction required Basildon Council to give a plot-by-plot breakdown of how they plan to clear Dale Farm in Essex.

In return the authority wanted residents to stop blocking access to the site and to discourage non-travellers from protesting there.

On Wednesday, travellers at the site opened up its main gate, allowing access for emergency services - and a stream of travellers who had left to come back.

But the move was criticised by Basildon Council leader Tony Ball, who said it was "irresponsible'' for travellers who had previously left peacefully to return.

As some travellers moved back into the site, resident Michelle McCarthy said: "With this court ruling we're finally hopeful that common sense will prevail, so we're moving our caravans back into Dale Farm.

"We're reasonable people and we urge the council to find a way that we can continue to live in peace as community.''

While some families returned to Dale Farm, others were thought to have relocated to other parts of the country, including Luton. Bedfordshire Police said some 20 caravans had pitched up at Stockswood Park, a large public park on the outskirts of the town.

Luton council said it was made aware of the encampment on Monday and immediately started legal procedure for eviction.