Unauthorised encampments

Reporting unauthorised encampments

Unauthorised camping is not a criminal offence. Trespass is a civil offence, giving land owners and local authorities the right to repossess their property using the due process of law.

The land owner is responsible for unauthorised encampments; Slough Borough Council (SBC) is the lead agency if the unauthorised encampment is on council land. The duty of the police is to preserve peace and prevent crime.

How to report an anauthorised encampment

You can report an unauthorised encampment using the report antisocial behaviour form.

Any crime, disorder or nuisance associated with an encampment should be reported to Thames Valley Police on the 101 non-emergency phone number or via the Thames Valley Police website. If it is an emergency call 999.

What happens when SBC receive details of an unauthorised encampment?

SBC officers will find out who the land belongs to.

If the land is owned by the council

Council officers will usually visit the site within one working day to make an assessment of the situation and carry out welfare checks. Welfare checks include signposting the occupants of the site to housing advice, medical facilities or any other service they may require. At this point they are told that they are trespassing and told they must vacate the site otherwise legal action may be taken.

If the land is privately owned

It is the land owner’s responsibility to take the necessary action to evict. The landowner can attempt to agree a leaving date with the trespassers or take proceedings in the County Court under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 to
obtain a Court Order for their eviction.

Landowners are recommended to seek legal advice as soon as the encampment arrives.