HC Deb 05 December 1985 vol 88 cc415-6
7. Mr. Cash

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to deal with difficulties relating to civil and criminal trespass arising from roving convoys of persons and vehicles.

Mr. Giles Shaw

My right hon. Friend has no present plan to introduce legislation on trespass. However, proposals in the Public Order Bill should help to deal with certain of the difficulties to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. Cash

Does my hon. Friend agree that the incredible damage caused, costing Staffordshire ratepayers about £80,000, when a peace convoy recently invaded common and open spaces in that part of the world should be stopped, and that the criminal law is a way of dealing with such problems? An essential feature of open space and common land law is that it should be available to all people equally. People entering such land, entrenching themselves, and going from there marauding and stealing other people's property is a matter appropriate for the criminal law and should be stopped at once.

Mr. Shaw

I fully understand my hon. Friend's anxiety about the events that occurred in Staffordshire. He will be aware that in the Public Order Bill, subject to its passage through the House, there are provisions enabling conditions to be imposed upon static assemblies. I hope that the improvement he seeks will be achieved in that way.

Mr. Hickmet

Does my hon. Friend agree that while trespass has not been a criminal offence, the time has now come to deal with the so-called animal liberation people and those representing so-called animal rights organisations, and to amend the criminal law to cover them when they trespass on private land and cause criminal damage and personal injury to people engaging in their lawful pursuits?

Mr. Shaw

My hon. Friend is correct. People seek to disrupt and enter private land and cause major damage to property and some injury to others, and I assure him that the police and the Government are considering carefully what can be done to toughen the law in that direction.