illegal travellers site at Dale Farm

After police stormed into the UK's largest illegal travellers site at Dale Farm through a rear perimeter fence and reached the front gate a calm descended. A line of police officers and the protesters staged a stand off. It followed a running battle where more than 100 police officers had pushed through the site. Then snatch squads went in to grab people they believed had been involved in law breaking or criminal damage. Protesters hurled abuse, bottles, bricks and debris at the police line that sheltered below riot shields. By 09:00 BST the first bailiffs began to appear and before long there were 10 visible. Leading resident Mary Sheridan appeared sporting a graze on her face which she said she received when pushed over by the police. Some of the travellers began packing their belongings from their mobile homes preparing to leave. The next phase is to remove the people from the gantry above the main gate so that it can be safely opened. There are about 25 people up there and they are bringing them down one by one. Heavy machinery and bailiffs wait outside to move on to the site once it is safe. Most of the traveller residents are not involved in the confrontation but the protesters are still defiant and say they are determined to stay for as long as it takes. Police and bailiffs are proceeding slowly and cautiously to remove them in an operation that will take some time.