The Home Secretary has said a Conservative Government will take a “robust” approach to tackle unauthorised encampments.

Priti Patel visited Crescent Way in Finchley, Barnet yesterday following problems with travellers invading the open space next to the road.

And Mrs Patel said there was a real “impact and shock” of unauthorised encampments in the area and called it “unacceptable”.

During her visit, Mrs Patel spoke to people who have been affected by the issue – and was joined by Finchley and Golders Green Conservative candidate Mike Freer.

Mrs Patel said: “People’s whole life around here has been disturbed in an unacceptable way through unauthorised encampments.

“We are looking to criminalise the activities of those participating in this act and bringing these vehicles onto sites creating unauthorised encampments.

“Through a consultation we would be looking at the powers that police and local authorities need to act in a robust way to deal with unauthorised encampments.”

Mrs Patel said a majority Tory Government would look at the details of the consultation to decide if primary or secondary legislation is needed and the framework the Government would need to enact for that to happen.

Conservative parliamentary candidate Mike Freer added that there had been several unauthorised encampments in the past few years which has affected people’s lives in the area.

He said: “While its been good to use the legal process to get the police to get rid of them, it can be time consuming.

“It is good the Home Secretary wants to toughen up the law so that residents are able to get on with their lives without this disruption.

“I think she is taking a fairly tough line to ensure residents will be able to ensure they live their normal life.”