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Trespassers on land


Trespass to land is a civil wrong and as such the police have no jurisdiction. Under common law, the landowner has a right to re-entry on the land, however the ejection of the trespasser is fraught with danger for the landowner. Initially, the landowner should ask the occupier to leave the land and if he/she does then all is well. The problems start however, if he/she refuses to leave the land.

The owner of the land could commit several criminal offences if he forcibly removes the trespasser and his/her property from the land. The best and safest course of action is to obtain a court order, which if breached may then turn into a criminal matter.

If the police do attend an incident such as this, they are merely there as observers for any possible criminal offences committed by either party. The police cannot assist in the removal of the trespasser or their property from the land in question.

The police do have some powers against two or more trespassers if damage has been caused, or there are more than six vehicles on the land.


You should contact the local council as soon as possible so they can take the appropriate steps to remove the trespassers.

See the website in Related Information to find your local authority.


If the trespassers were on council land then the council will have the responsibility of removing it. If the rubbish is on private land then it will be the landowner's responsibility to remove the rubbish. The council can remove it, however there may be a charge.

See the website in related information to find your local authority.


Trespass is a civil wrong and the police only have powers to remove trespassers in limited circumstances. For example, if 2 or more persons are present on the land and residing there for any period, and any of those persons has caused damage to the land or to the property on the land or used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier or someone connected with the occupier.

Another example is if those persons have 6 or more vehicles on the land. In such cases the police do have powers to direct the trespassers to leave.

Failure to leave when directed to do so by the police will amount to a criminal offence.

Contact your local police force

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