Traveller: 'The council said I'd get a home, but it's just a hostel'

Families complain their eviction is waste of public funds

Michelle Fox has lived at Dale Farm for 10 years. She has four children and was cradling her youngest, John, in her arms as the bailiffs arrived yesterday.

"I was travelling before I came here," Ms Fox, 38, said. "And I will be on the road again after they kick me out. I will be homeless. The council says they offered me a home, but it was just a hostel.

"How can they think it is right to force a woman with four children to live in a hostel? I have been evicted many times before, I have been moved on from car parks and fields but it has never been like this. We have never had riot police burst in before. I haven't seen this kind of force."

The stretch of greenbelt land at Dale Farm has been a figurative battleground for years. But yesterday it really looked like one.

Burning barricades were erected and police clashed with protesters. A caravan burned to the ground and masked protesters threw missiles at riot officers. Caught in the middle is a community with no idea where it is to go. A protester sat on the floor with a sign that said: "No judge's ruling or law can make this eviction just."

Dale Farm is separated roughly in half, with one section of 54 plots deemed illegal. The courts have ordered that all but five of the plots in the illegal half can be cleared by bailiffs.

Cornelius Sheridan, who has terminal cancer, lives on one of the five plots being spared from eviction. But that doesn't mean he has been spared from the anguish. He was taken out of his home as bailiffs began to enter. The power to the site – which runs his defibrillator – was cut. Two days earlier he had been admitted to hospital with a severe asthma attack; he came back because he was afraid of what would happen to his legal plot.

It is estimated the cost of evicting the residents of Dale Farm will reach £18m in police and council costs. Legal costs on both sides have been considerable.

Basildon Council's Conservative leader, Tony Ball, said Dale Farm residents had been "living on borrowed time" and urged them to leave "peacefully and in a safe and orderly fashion".

He added: "The so-called supporters should also pack up their belongings and leave the site. If they have the Travellers' best interest at heart they will either leave the area now or confine their activities to helping the Travellers to leave over the coming days."

Chief Superintendent Tony Roe said: "A lot of missiles, fluids and other objects had been stored. Intelligence suggested that there was going to be serious disorder if the site was entered."

But Travellers also complained of the police violence they had witnessed and the waste of public funds. Mary Sheridan said: "This eviction is going to cost so much, they could have bought us all five-bedroom houses but we wouldn't want them. We just want to stay here. It is difficult to believe that much in resources could be put into kicking us out of our homes.

"They could have left us. We live in the mucky fields, we put hard-standing down around our homes and all we ask for is an electricity supply and a sup of water."

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, said: "Let us remember that this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else. These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight."

Suggested Topics
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker