Essex

Dale Farm: Control base set up for travellers' eviction

Preparations are being made at the UK's largest illegal travellers' site ahead of next week's planned eviction.

Basildon Council is due to clear families living on 80 illegal plots on Dale Farm, at Cray's Hill, from Monday.

Contractors are building an access road to the Essex site, on the spot where Shetland ponies had been grazing just 24 hours earlier.

The council has set up at a control base nearby, from where the operation is being co-ordinated.

Fifty security contractors have been drafted in to secure the land near the entrance to Dale Farm.

Police say they are also maintaining a presence at the site to ensure preparations are made in a peaceable manner.

Julian Sturdy, of BBC Look East, said travellers continued to live at the site but after a 10-year legal fight and many protests there was a real sense that this was "the beginning of the end".

Basildon Council is expected to evict up to 400 people from Dale Farm from Monday.

Travellers own the site but 80 plots do not have planning permission.

It said it had worked with the community to offer those affected alternative accommodation.

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