Essex

Wickford traveller leader jailed for defying court order

Silva Lodge Kennels, Hovefield, Essex
Image caption Basildon Council brought injunctions against the families for developing the site

The head of a traveller family has been jailed for 35 days for defying an order to clear mobile homes from greenbelt land.

Thomas Anderson, of Silva Lodge Kennels, in Wickford, Essex, was found in contempt of court.

Eileen Anderson, Winnie Anderson, Arron Jones and Margaret Anderson, of the same address, were also found in contempt and fined at the High Court .

Basildon Council successfully sought the injunction in October.

The five had replaced touring caravans with static mobile homes.

Image caption Neighbours told the BBC building work continued despite the injunction

At the sentencing, the court was shown photographs revealing Margaret Anderson had cleared her plot, but the other defendants had not.

He was told the other defendants had been unable, rather than unwilling, to comply as they had tried unsuccessfully to have the vehicles sold or moved.

Jailing Thomas Anderson, Mr Justice Kerr said he was head of the extended family and and bore an additional responsibility for the breaches by the others.

The judge said he did not believe Mr Anderson had made "genuine and serious" efforts to comply.

He described Anderson as a man of some means and the owner of the land, which he bought two years ago for £150,000.

"I am quite satisfied he does not respect the order of the court or do more than pay lip service to it," he said.

Eileen Anderson, Winnie Anderson and Arron Jones were fined £2,500, with Margaret Anderson fined £500.

The five defendants will also have to pay the council's costs of £17,500.

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