Updated Sunday 22nd July 2001
Travellers who illegally occupied land on Horns Mill Road have been evicted by police and escorted out of the County.
The landowner successfully applied for an eviction order, which was ignored by the travellers who set up camp the week before.
Seventeen officers were involved in the operation to remove 50 vehicles from the site, following a surveillance operation to ensure that there were no breaches of Public Order Act.
Police last year adopted a "get tough" policy and in November raided an encampment in Mill Road in an operation that involved seventy officers.
East Herts has suffered a spate of occupations last year, although the problem goes back alot further. Travellers occupied land at Archers Green for many months in the mid-nineties, leading to numerous complaints from residents in Bentley Road.
Whilst trespass is often considered a police matter in these cases, the offence is a civil one and it is therefore up to landowners to pursue the issue through the courts, which can take time.
Where damage occurs on a site, it is often hard to identify those responsible without firm evidence.
Travellers are now considered a legitimate minority group under the Human Rights Act which means that they cannot be discriminated against.
Whilst many local authorities provide permanent traveller sites, there is no legal obligaion on them to do so and East Herts provides none. Hertfordshire County Council's social services department have a gipsy section that offers advice and support to travellers.
The issues surrounding travellers and how to address them require a co-ordinated approach by all those involved, including the police, social services, local authorities and groups representing travellers. Chief Inspector Dave Thompson, who is head of police operations for the district, recently told The Hertfordshire Mercury "It is time for the politicians to decide the nature of the problem and whether to change the law or provide services to deal with it".