A council has successfully secured new powers which allows them to move on travellers who pitch up on its land illegally more quickly.

Hertsmere Borough Council was granted an injunction to protect council-owned sites by the High Court of Justice yesterday.

It means it can take action immediately to remove any caravans camped on any of its 95 sites in the borough.

The injunction, which initially will last for three months, comes after the council pledged to tackle traveller encampments following an “unprecedented” summer of incursions – 16 in total.

Residents across the borough called on the council to act more quickly after numerous parks were camped on, mainly in Borehamwood.

Sites in Potters Bar, Bushey, Radlett, and Elstree were also affected.

In the last couple of weeks, the council has begun installing wooden posts around Ripon Park in Borehamwood, after cries from neighbours living nearby. The posts are expected to cost in the region of £40,000.

The injunction also bans the disposal of waste on all 95 sites.

Objections can be raised during the three-month period and once this ends, the council will apply to have the injunction extended for five years.

The court was told that human and animal excrement had been found at a number of sites along with waste and rubbish.

Cllr Seamus Quilty, responsible for the environment, said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the hearing and would like to congratulate all our staff who contributed to making this application a success.

“The traveller encampments have presented the council, our partners and local communities with significant challenges, which we have been working hard to tackle.

“In response, we have taken a number of measures to better protect our parks and, with each encampment, have followed the correct legal procedures. However, this process can take time, which can cause frustration for the public, many of whom would like to see the situation resolved more quickly.

“The injunction will enable us to respond more effectively and prevent these encampments in the first place because anyone who deliberately breaches the injunction will face potential arrest, committal to prison and an unlimited fine.”

The injunction was backed by Hertsmere chief inspector Steve O’Keeffe.

He said: “I fully supported Hertsmere Borough Council in seeking alternative legal measures within civil law to protect the rights and privileges of local residents and businesses in the area.”