Monday, 01 June 2020

‘Walkers may break new law’

CAMPAIGNERS have objected to plans to strengthen police powers against trespassers.

The Government is hoping to tackle illegal encampments by making intentional trespass a crime.

The Open Spaces Society, which is based in Henley, says the move could mean innocent people who unknowingly stray on to private land could be prosecuted.

Hugh Craddock, case officer for the society, said: “Our immediate fear is for wild campers and peaceful protest camps but once trespass is criminalised it could easily lead more widely to innocent people being made criminals.

“Trespass is commonplace and many people trespass without realising it.

“People who are out for a walk or ride might stray from the path to avoid a muddy patch or tricky stile.

“The effect of all of this could be to make visitors to the countryside nervous of doing the wrong thing and landowners more empowered to challenge them.

“We are deeply concerned by the Government’s proposals and will fight every inch of the way against further criminalisation of trespass.”

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