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Travellers ready to resist eviction

Supporters and travellers resisting the clearance of Dale Farm are set to lock down the site as they prepare for the arrival of bailiffs.

Basildon Council-employed bailiffs are due to arrive at the six-acre illegal site.

Those on site spent Sunday making last-minute preparations, reinforcing barricades and building a wall to block the bailiffs' entry point.

This evening a final influx of supporters, legal observers and journalists were allowed on to the site. The gate on a scaffold battlement erected at the entry to Dale Farm will be closed at dusk and supporters will reinforce it from behind.

A last-minute meeting between Basildon Council and Dale Farm residents was cancelled after the representatives were told by the protesters that they were no longer welcome on site.

The meeting was planned to explain how the council's contractors would go about starting the site clearance tomorrow and to provide reassurances to the community.

Council leader Tony Ball said: "We are very concerned by these latest developments and reports that so-called supporters appear to be calling the shots.

"We wanted to do everything possible to keep residents updated about the operation and to listen to any concerns and address any final requirements.

"It would appear that we now have no line of communication to the Dale Farm residents. We are very concerned that tension has increased and it may now make our job of clearing the site in a safe and orderly manner even more difficult."

About 80 families living on Dale Farm face eviction following a decade-long row over 51 unauthorised plots. Half of the site, which has planning consent, will remain.

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