MP Mark Jenkinson has highlighted the issue of unauthorised traveller encampments being a blight in Workington to Home Secretary Priti Patel. Mr Jenkinson said: "The vast majority of travellers are law-abiding citizens - but illegal encampments can give an unfair, negative image of their community and cause distress and misery to our resident communities. There is a perception that the law does not apply to travellers, which is simply not true."

"Recognising that a local authority transit site can reduce some of the burden, there is a misconception that the local authority have a duty to provide such a site."

"We must also recognise that the cost to evict and clean up after unauthorised sites, or to provide a transit site, is borne by hard-pressed local taxpayers."

"On this point, we just recognise that a lot of the waste dumped is often from work on local residents homes and gardens - we each have a legal duty for all of the waste that leaves our premises, and I implore everyone to check where their waste is going to. They can check credentials with Allerdale Borough Council."

He added: "Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, local authorities have the power to direct persons who are unlawfully residing in vehicles on land in their own area to leave. These powers extend to privately owned land. It is an offence to fail to comply with such a direction or to return within 3 months. A magistrates’ court can make a removal order authorising the local authority to enter the land and remove the persons and vehicles.

"The same act gives the police power to remove unauthorised encampments where the landowner or occupier has taken reasonable steps and where one of three criteria are satisfied. Those criteria are that there is trespass with intent to reside and there is damage, abuse threats or insulting behaviour, or there are six or more vehicles - where a caravan is a vehicle in its own right. Failure to obey such a direction or returning to the land in question within three months is not only an offence but can result in arrest and impoundment of vehicles even before a magistrates’ court order has been obtained."

"I continue to work with the local authority and Cumbria police to ensure that these powers are, and will be, used to the benefit of my constituents.

"Trespass is currently a civil offence not criminal, notwithstanding the powers afforded by the aforementioned act.

"We made a manifesto commitment to tackle unauthorised traveller camps, giving the police new powers to make it easier to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampments, in order to protect our communities. We said we will also make intentional trespass a criminal offence, and give councils greater powers within the planning system."

After speaking to the Home Secretary Mr Jenkinson said he is looking forward to the new legislation coming forward in the new year.