Thurrock Council Leader Cllr Rob Gledhill has welcomed the tough sentence given to a man who removed a fence that the council had erected to prevent illegal encampments being set up.
The man appeared at Basildon Magistrates earlier this month where he was given a 12-month conditional discharge and forced to pay £500 in costs to the council and £105 court costs after he was caught on camera taking down the fencing in Clyde, East Tilbury.
Cllr Gledhill said: "It is incredibly disappointing to learn that someone would attempt to remove fencing which had only recently been erected to prevent people setting up illegal encampments on public land.
"I was pleased to see Basildon Magistrates handing down such a tough sentence and I hope this serves as a warning to anyone who is thinking of damaging council property. We will always prosecute to the full letter of the law.
"Now we have an interim injunction preventing illegal encampments we will no longer have to rely on creating physical barriers and have the legal means to move encampments on in just a few hours."