Thames Valley Police has welcomed plans to change illegal encampment laws – which now gives the force powers to direct trespassers to authorised sites in neighbouring areas.

Police have previously had “very limited” powers to order groups of travellers to move on when they set up camps on unauthorised land – prompting the government to review the laws.

Thames Valley Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner responded to the government’s consultation on the changes and say they are now “pleased that the government has announced that there will be action to change the law”.

The changes include increasing the length of time that trespassers are unable to return to a section of land once they have been moved on.

Police will also be permitted to direct travellers to authorised sides in neighbouring local authority areas and order them to leave land that forms part of a highway.

The number of vehicles needed to be classed as an illegal encampment has also been lowered from six or more to two or more, according to a report due to be presented by Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel on Friday.

Illegal traveller camps are regularly set up across south Bucks, in some cases costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds in clear up costs.

Travellers left a trail of devastation at the old sports centre site in High Wycombe in 2017, forcing Wycombe District Council to fork out £41,000 to remove mountains of rubbish.

A staggering 210 tonnes of waste had to be removed from the building site in Marlow Hill after travellers spent a week there.