Last night a man who claimed to be working for Altek Security with bailiffs Constant & Co on the operation to clear the site at Dale Farm, contacted Richard Sheridan President of the Gypsy Council, ostensibly to leak information about the eviction. He claimed the eviction would proceed at 8am on Monday morning and that Basildon Council had lied about the date the eviction would start. The man was recognised from Traveller evictions at Hovefields last year, confirming that he had previously worked with Constant & Co. He encouraged Travellers to use violence and protesters to climb barricades and to act as if they might throw themselves from these structures. He suggested urgently calling national media outlets. Dale Farm residents recorded the meeting.
Residents, already on high alert and deeply stressed, ran in panic to raise the alarm. Terrified children were unable to sleep wanting to know whether or not they would be forcibly removed from their homes and school. Many women were crying.
Supporters and residents rallied together, locked down the hatches, and tried to stay calm while they unpacked the man’s story. By 8:30am no bailiffs had turned up, but nevertheless residents suffered a night of harassment and fear.
It appears the operation to remove residents from Dale Farm has reached a new level of duplicity. Elderly and sick residents as well as children again suffered greatly.
Already there are reports of equipment arriving to build a press compound adjacent to Dale Farm. Concerns that press access to the site will be controlled by police have intensified. Residents fear lack of media access will increase the likelihood that past incidences of bailiff and police brutality will be repeated without public witness.