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Travellers threatened with having their caravans taken unless they leave Hainault

PUBLISHED: 17:34 11 June 2018

Traveller camped up in Hainault Forest Country Park.

Traveller camped up in Hainault Forest Country Park.

Archant

Travellers were threatened with having their caravans seized and imprisonment if they did not leave Hainault today (Monday June 11).

Two of the men were airlifted to hospital. Picture: Paul BennettTwo of the men were airlifted to hospital. Picture: Paul Bennett

Redbridge Council severed a High Court order at noon to people at an illegal encampment in Hainault Forest Country Park, Romford Road.

The council successfully obtained a High Court interim injunction stopping unlawful camps across the borough last week.

This law protects parks, open spaces, school grounds and industrial estates in the borough – covering 235 sites in total.

Anyone breaching the interim injunction by refusing to move may be held in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized.

Travellers occupying seven caravans and eight vehicles, including a tipper truck, were told to leave Hainault Forest Country Park 2pm or face enforcement proceedings.

Leader of the council, Councillor Jas Athwal said: “This is precisely why we were determined to secure the interim injunction.

“Once the order was served we were able to quickly move on the people that had set up an illegal encampment.

“These illegal encampments are a serious problem and have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to clear up because of fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviours.

“Working with the police, we will continue to enforce the injunction to maximum effect to put a stop to this unlawful behaviour and the huge disruption it causes.”

The interim injunction application has come under fire from several Redbridge groups who are worried that a section of the community is being unfairly targeted.

David Landau of Redbridge Equalities and Community Council previously spoke to the Recorder about the council seeking an interim injunction against travellers.

“We don’t know all the details but our concern is that traveller who have nothing to do with the flytipping and just looking for someone to stop off might get caught in the criminal justice system,” he said.

“It affects the group as a whole, not just the anti-social ones that the council are hoping to target.”

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