REMOVING a fence aiming to prevent travellers entering and illegal encampments being set up saw a man handed a £605 bill.

Thurrock Council had placed a large fence around land in Clyde, East Tilbury, in a bid to stop travellers pitching up.

But a man was caught on camera taking down the fencing and attempting to create access to the site.

The man appeared at Basildon Magistrates earlier this month where he was given a 12-month conditional discharge and forced to pay £500 in costs to the council and £105 court costs.

Council leader Rob Gledhill welcomed the court action, insisting it was yet another sign that the council is taking a hard stance on enforcement action.

Mr Gledhill said: “It is incredibly disappointing to learn that someone would attempt to remove fencing which had only recently been erected to prevent people setting up illegal encampments on public land.

“I was pleased to see Basildon Magistrates handing down such a tough sentence and I hope this serves as a warning to anyone who is thinking of damaging council property.

“We will always prosecute to the full letter of the law. Now we have an interim injunction preventing illegal encampments we will no longer have to rely on creating physical barriers and have the legal means to move encampments on in just a few hours.”