Alert close - icon Fill 1 Copy 10 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Untitled-1 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Fill 1 Copy 10 menu Group 3 Group 3 Copy 3 Group 3 Copy Page 1 Group 2 Group 2 Skip to content

Gypsies, Travellers and the law

Everyone has rights, including Gypsies, Travellers and people on whose land unauthorised camping takes place.

Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010, together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language and values, including white and black people.

Local authorities and official agencies will try to balance the rights of all of those involved.

Travelling lifestyle

Gypsies and Travellers' way of life means that they travel the country staying for various periods in different locations in order to earn a living. In most cases it has been a way of life for generations.

Camping on private land without the landowner's permission

If Gypsies and Travellers are camped without the landowner's permission on private land, we do not have a duty to move them. If Travellers are camped on our land, we can evict them.

If they are on private land, usually it is the landowner's responsibility. The government has advised that when Gypsies and Travellers are not causing a problem, the site may be tolerated.

If Gypsies and Travellers camp on your land you can:

  1. Talk to them to see if a leaving date can be agreed.
  2. Take proceedings in the County Court under the Civil Procedure Rules, 1998. There must be a minimum of 2 clear days between service of documents and the court hearing. To contact the County Court, tel: 01332 622600 or seek the help of a solicitor.

If you decide to let them stay on your land temporarily you could be in breach of the Planning Acts unless:

  • you've already obtained planning permission for a caravan site
  • you're a farmer and they are helping you with, for example, fruit picking

You may wish to seek further advice from the planning department.

Camping on the side of the road, in parks or on other council-owned land

If the Gypsies and Travellers are causing problems they will be moved on as soon as is reasonable.

We'll consider each case on its merits.

In all cases the site is visited and every effort made to try and make sure that the Gypsies and Travellers keep the site tidy and do not cause public health problems.

This sometimes means that a portable toilet and refuse collection facilities may be provided for this purpose.

We cannot force Gypsies and Travellers to move immediately because we must:

  • be able to show that the Gypsies and Travellers are on land without consent
  • make enquiries regarding the general health and welfare of the Gypsies and Travellers
  • go through relevant steps in terms of serving notices and follow due processes in the courts to gain the necessary authority to order the Gypsies and Travellers to leave the site

The court can refuse to grant the council an order to move the Gypsies and Travellers on if:

  • there is an unavoidable reason for the Gypsies and Travellers to stay on the site
  • the court thinks we have not made adequate enquiries regarding general health and welfare of the Gypsies and Travellers

We must try to find out this information before going to court.

What the can police do

The police will visit all sites reported to them. In certain circumstances (for example where the Travellers have with them 6 or more vehicles), officers may use powers under section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

These powers will not be used as a matter of routine.

The section gives the police powers to act but officers can choose whether to use them or not.

Each case will be looked at on its merits having regard to the safety of the community and taking into consideration any aggravating factors of crime or disorder.

The duty of the police is to preserve the peace and prevent crime.

Trespass on land by itself is not a criminal offence. Prevention of trespass is the responsibility of the landowner not the police.

The police will investigate all criminal and public order offences.

Useful contacts

For sites on district or borough land please contact:

For sites on the public highway or on our land, contact Mark Hosker, email:

We have the following residential sites:

  • Lullington Cross Roads
  • Coton in the Elms - managed by South Derbyshire District Council
  • Corbriggs, Hasland, Chesterfield - leased out to Mr Jim Burnside, Woodyard Lane at Foston and managed by South Derbyshire District Council

If the traveller site is on private land the landowner must deal with this.

The police will call at all unauthorised sites. You can call the Derbyshire Police Call Centre, tel: 101.