Discovering that trespassers have stationed themselves on commercial land in England or Wales and are obstructing business, fly-tipping or worse can be a serious issue for land and business owners. Here are our top 5 tips on how to stop this if it happens.

  1. Self-help. Whilst it is always possible to engage in a dialogue with persons coming onto your land, you should remember that there are significant risks associated with this from a personal safety point of view. You should also be aware of the potential criminal offences that can be committed carrying out unlawful evictions. Trespass is a civil offence, not a criminal one meaning that in theory you can ask the Police to help, but in practice they are generally reluctant to do so unless a crime is being committed.
  2. An enforcement agent. There is an immediate common law power to evict trespassers in certain circumstances. Although the power that exists can involve immediate eviction, generally notice giving the trespassers reasonable notice will be given (sometimes 24 hours is sufficient), by a certified enforcement agent. If after 24 hours has passed, the trespassers remain in situ, the enforcement agents may use no more force than is reasonably necessary to evict.
  3. Expedited court process. If the trespassers that have set up camp, are excluding you from the land and are causing damage to your property or engaged in anti-social activities, you may be able to follow the expedited High Court process to obtain a possession order with 24 – 48 hours. This process allows the certified enforcement agents to forcibly remove offenders.
  4. An injunction. In the case of protestor actions, if the trespassers have not actually excluded you (but are protesting), then you may be able to obtain an injunction requiring them to leave. This can be done in short order in the right case. Obtaining an injunction makes it a criminal offence for anyone deemed to have been served with the injunction to enter the property.
  5. Dealing with a threatened trespass. It is possible to obtain an injunction in respect of threatened trespass and even in the case where no threat to come onto land has been made. In the case of threatened trespass, this can also work if trespassers have entered part of your property and you are worried about them entering on wider parts. You would need to show that there is a real and imminent risk of further trespass – not simply a concern about the possibility that there might be some. For more detail about obtaining injunctions when no threat has been made, please see our previous blog here.

If you are a commercial landlord or a landowner dealing with issues of trespass or you have any questions about how these issues may impact you or your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Real Estate Disputes team or your usual Brodies' contact.


Lucie Barnes


William Payne

Senior Associate