Council officials have served 48-hour notices detailing how they will remove homes from the UK’s largest illegal travellers’ site.
Despite a mass walk-out of travellers and supporters from Dale Farm in Essex, between 20 and 30 people spent Wednesday night inside the site.
Among them was mother-of-two Margaret Flynn, who is entitled to keep her caravan on the site, although the hard-standing beneath it will be removed.
She said: “We hardly slept last night, the kids just kept thinking about what had happened and how the police came into the site.I’m entitled to stay but it is not home any more. It felt very lonely in here.
“My family slept on the legal side and I just want to be with them.”
Basildon Council officers, escorted by police and bailiffs, toured the site yesterday morning placing notices on structures.
The notices inform residents what will be removed. This includes demolishing fences and walls to allow access, although these will be reinstated.
Some residents have asked bailiffs to remove their homes today and one mobile home has already been placed inside the council compound.
The majority of the clearance is likely to get under way on Monday. A council spokesman said properties would be removed “with care” and not demolished.
Hard-standings and roads will then be torn up.
The police presence on site was low key, made up largely of community officers and commanders dressed in normal uniform.
Campaigner Candy Sheridan said: “We are here to make sure they go about their job lawfully.
“If they demolish walls, we will make sure they restore them with precisely matching bricks. If they damage property they are not entitled to damage, we will claim for it. Travellers may have walked out of the site, but for us this is not over.”
Most travellers spent the night on the legal side of Dale Farm.
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said he was not aware of any travellers trespassing on private land on Wednesday night.
He said: “There are conditions attached to the legal side to do with health and safety and occupancy.”