Is it illegal to trespass in the UK? Everything to
know

Is it illegal to trespass in the UK? Everything to know

Have you had someone access your land without permission? While you’ve probably heard of trespassing, you might be unsure what it means and what to do if someone is on your land.

Here’s what the Metropolitan Police says about trespassing and whether it’s illegal.

What is trespassing?

According to the Metropolitan Police, “entering private land without the owner’s permission is trespassing.”

In Scotland, it is widely believed that there are no trespassing laws but this is untrue.

The My Lawyer website says: “In Scots law, trespass is the passage through another’s land without consent. Trespass may be committed by persons, by animals or (if temporary) by things.

“As in England, trespass is a civil wrong in Scotland, and can sometimes also constitute a criminal offence, e.g. trespass which breaches poaching laws.

“However, the legislation that established trespass as an offence has been amended by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which establishes universal access rights to most land and inland water.

“People only have these rights if they exercise them responsibly by respecting people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and Scotland’s environment.”

Is trespassing illegal?

The Met Police states that those trespassing aren’t committing a criminal offence.

It added: “In most cases, this is not a matter for the police. We’d recommend the first thing to do would be to talk to the people occupying your land and ask them to leave, if you feel safe to do that.”

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The police force advises you to contact your local council if someone refuses to leave your land or you’re unsure about trespassing.

It’s important to note that if you decide to remove someone or their property forcibly, you could be guilty of multiple criminal offences.

The Met Police adds: “The best and safest course of action may be to get a court order to evict them. If the court order is breached, it could become a criminal matter.”

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