Claire Sandbrook
Travellers on your Car Park?
All landowners – whether they are public authorities such as local councils or private landowners such as those who own farmland, supermarkets or trading estates – should be aware of the need not only to protect their land against incursions from travellers and other forms of trespasser, but to have in place a fall-back option should their security precautions fail and they do end up with an influx of unwanted visitors on their property.

In the past it has often been the case that it is those stories that involve high profile sites or landowners that make the news and catch the public eye. For example, stories where travellers pitched up and settled themselves down in the car parks of major chain stores such as Ikea have been featured in the news more than once in recent months.

But it is not just well-known names such as Ikea who can suffer from the problem of unwanted visitors – and it is not just car parks that they may target. Sites such as open land, council-owned playing fields, construction and development sites and trading estates can be just as vulnerable, particularly those that may be in remote locations or which cannot be easily guarded or protected.

So what do you do when you find that you have such unwanted visitors on your land? Many landowners may fear that they will be faced with lengthy and expensive legal proceedings just to get these interlopers off their land, and that may put them off taking urgent action for fear of running up unnecessary costs.

But there is another option open to many landowners when faced with this situation – the use of ‘common law eviction’ powers and the services of companies such as Shergroup Enforcement and their ‘common law eviction’ service.

So what are the powers that enable a ‘common law eviction’ of travellers and similar trespassers to take place? Where does the legal authority for such an eviction to be carried out reside?

The answer lies in the great English common law which states that if a trespasser peaceably enters land or property then the person who is entitled to possession of the land or property can request the trespasser to leave. If the trespasser refuses then the person entitled to possession can remove him from the land, using no more force than is reasonably necessary.

Care needs to be taken to ensure the use of force is not excessive, otherwise the person who uses force can find himself in hot water by committing a trespass against the person he is trying to remove.

This means that using professionals who know how to handle trespassers in these situations is vital and this is where Shergroup Enforcement can step in and provide a ‘common law eviction’ service which is professional and safe to all involved.

Once instructed to act on your behalf, Shergroup Enforcement will use the most appropriate method to evict unauthorised occupants and return the land or premises to you in a timely and cost-effective manner. We can also arrange for equipment and possessions abandoned upon the site to be formally passed into your control so that they may be disposed of without any legal consequences.

To achieve this, we will usually provide an initial attendance at the site to issue a warning notice of eviction within 24 hours if the occupants refuse to leave the land – we would anticipate being able to have the warning issued within 48 hours of instruction in normal circumstances. To effect the removal of any occupants who do not comply with the warning notice we will provide specialist trained and equipped enforcement officers to remove those persons in occupation using firm and decisive action, and will enable the process to take place swiftly by using equipment such as towing vehicles to remove caravans and mobile homes from the site.

To ensure that the land remains secure after the eviction has taken place, we can also provide services through Shergroup Security to ensure that the land and property remains safe and that the evicted occupiers (or, for that matter, new unauthorised occupiers) do not return to the land shortly after being removed.

For full details of ‘common law eviction’ powers and Shergroup’s services for carrying out a common law eviction please call one of our experienced Customer Solutions Advisors on

+ 44(0) 845 890 9200

Or fill in our online Common Law Eviction Instruction Form and one of our Business Solutions Team will call you back before 5 pm or on the next working day after 5 pm.