Dale Farm: Eviction Cost Essex Police £2.4m, Less Than A Quarter Of Expected Cost

The police operation to clear the UK's largest illegal travellers' site cost almost £2.4m.

Essex Police confirmed the figure for the policing side of the clearance of Dale Farm, near Basildon, in October.

It had originally been estimated that policing could cost up to £10m but the final bill is less than a quarter of that.

A report will be presented to Essex Police Authority's finance committee next week and a full breakdown of costs is expected later this month.

Basildon Council has not yet confirmed its costs for the operation, which includes paying a team of bailiffs.

It had set aside £8m for the eviction - bringing the total forecast cost to £18m.

Reports locally last week suggested the final cost would be £4.2m. The council refused to confirm this but said it expected to be "under budget".

There were violent clashes as Essex Police led the operation to clear protesters from the six-acre site before council-employed bailiffs completed the clearance.

The operation followed a decade-long row over unauthorised plots.

The Home Office had pledged to pay up to £4.65m, or half of the policing cost. The Department for Communities and Local Government also contributed £1.2m towards the eviction.

The remainder will come from policing and council budgets.

Basildon Council last week confirmed it had begun drafting new enforcement notices to remove travellers from a legal site neighbouring Dale Farm.

These are expected to be served by the end of January and would give travellers 28 days to vacate the land.

The move could see bailiffs and police take action for a second time, following last year's clearance operation which resulted in violent clashes.

Although the illegal part of the site is now clear, at least 50 caravans are currently thought to be located on the neighbouring legal site exceeding its authorised capacity.