Report an unauthorised encampment
An unauthorised encampment is a group of people with vehicles who are entering and staying on land without the landowner's consent.
You can report an unauthorised encampment online via FixMyStreet.
Unauthorised camping is not a criminal offence. However, trespassing is a civil offence. Landowners and local authorities have the right to repossess their property by using the law.
To help manage unauthorised encampments, Buckinghamshire Council and Thames Valley Police have created a memorandum of understanding.
View the Memorandum of Understanding.
View the Memorandum of Understanding - Appendix A.
Removal on private land
If the land is privately owned, it is the landowner's responsibility to take the necessary action to evict the group.
The landowner can try to agree a leaving date with the group or take proceedings in the County Court, under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, to obtain a Court Order for eviction. Landowners can find the contact details of their local court.
Removal on council land
It can take up to 28 days to remove an unauthorised encampment. It can sometimes be longer if welfare concerns are identified.
We have to follow a legal process and must comply with the Human Rights Act 1998. For groups living in an unauthorised encampment, we must:
- show that the group is on the land without consent
- make enquiries about general health, welfare and children’s education
- provide the encampment with the ability to dispose of their waste
- issue the group with a 'Code of Conduct' sheet
All races, including Gypsies and Irish Travellers, are legally protected from discrimination and must be able to access mainstream council services.
Our colleagues at Thames Valley Police have produced a video in two parts, looking at the law and practice of dealing with unauthorised encampments: