Is trespassing a criminal offence?
Trespassing is not a crime; it is a civil wrong against the landowner. A crime will only be committed in certain extreme cases, for example where the trespasser threatens an occupier with violence in order to gain entry to the property. Alternatively, someone who claims to be a squatter could in fact have committed the offence of burglary. Usually when people think of burglary they think of someone breaking into a building in order to steal goods, but the offence is actually much wider than that. Can the police help me to get rid of trespassers? Under s 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 the police have a power to direct trespassers to leave land (but not buildings) where they reasonably believe that the trespassers have entered the land for the purpose of residing on it, and reasonable steps have been taken by the occupier of the land to ask the trespassers to leave, and: • any of the trespassers have caused damage to the land or to property on the land; or • any of