The Government defines unauthorised encampments as 'encampments of caravans and/or other vehicles on land without the landowner or occupier's consent and constituting trespass'.

Unauthorised encampments fall into two main categories:

  • those on land owned by local authorities (highways, schools, public parks and car parks etc)
  • those on privately owned land

The Leicestershire County Council Multi Agency Travellers Unit (MATU) will take responsibility for all aspects of traveller liaison and unauthorised encampments on behalf of Charnwood Borough Council. 

On private land, it is the landowner who is primarily responsible, although MATU will offer advice and assistance. In all cases, the police are responsible for crime related issues.

The code of practice

The Code of Practice for Travellers is an agreement between all the local authorities in Leicestershire and Leicestershire Police regarding the management of unauthorised encampments by travellers.

The code applies to all land in local authority ownership or control, including highway land. Any stay on land is limited in time and is dependent on travellers complying with the code.

How are unauthorised encampments managed

The site will be visited as a matter of urgency. Unauthorised encampments will not be tolerated where:

  • The occupants are known to have previously disregarded the site rules within the county
  • The encampment is creating a hazard to road safety
  • There is a danger to public or personal safety or the environment
  • The encampment is creating an intolerable impact on the employment, use or habitation of adjoining or nearby property
  • The encampment is too large for its location
  • The land is needed for use by the local authority or the general public
  • There has been advice from the police which suggests that criminal activity is taking place

If the occupants are behaving in an acceptable manner, the site is being kept tidy and the code of conduct is complied with the site may be tolerated for a short time in line with Government advice.

Our policy on unauthorised encampments

If an unauthorised encampment involves Gypsies/Travellers, it should be noted that MATU recognises and accepts their right to live in a nomadic way of life and all members of the community have a responsibility to show understanding and toleration of others and above all respect for the law.

MATU recognises that all members of the community have the right to enjoy a quality of life that is free of harassment and offensive behaviour and is committed to using the law to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour. They believe that everyone should be judged by how they behave not by a stereotype or single view that others may have of them generally.

What to do when there is an unauthorised encampment in your area

MATU works closely with all district and borough councils as well as the police. If there is an unauthorised encampment in your area you can either contact MATU directly or the police.

Please let them know the precise location of the unauthorised encampment, how many vehicles and caravans there are and if you have any specific complaints.

MATU will need to identify the owner of the land. If an unauthorised encampment is on county, district or highway land, one of their officers will visit and obtain some basic information before further action is taken.

Based on the information given a decision will be made as to whether the encampment should be tolerated for an agreed period and whether to take legal action.

Any attempt to move an unauthorised encampment without following relevant procedures may seem quicker, but it could lead to lengthy court actions, considerable cost and public criticism of the actions taken.

More information on Gypsy and Traveller sites

Last updated: Wed 15th December, 2021 @ 10:57