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Man dies after being 'electrocuted' at illegal traveller site in High Halden

By Express reporter

A man has died after reportedly being electrocuted on an illegal traveller site.

UK Power Networks was forced to turn off the electricity supply to almost 400 customers in High Halden, near Tenterden, for almost five hours following the incident.

Police and ambulance crews rushed to Plurenden Road about 6.30pm on Sunday and power did not return until about 10.30pm.

The traveller site in High Halden
The traveller site in High Halden

Ashford Borough Council says it is aware travellers have moved onto the land, which is near the crossroads with Martens Lane and Redbrook Street.

Authority planning officers had served a temporary stop notice and an emergency injunction order to prevent occupation of the land, but both were ignored.

A concerned neighbour - who asked not to be named - said travellers arrived on the site, called Hatchentan, just before the Easter weekend.

She said: “There have been several unsuccessful attempts to take over that field, but they’re actually building a proper site there now.

“They have had lorry after lorry load come in and there is at least five mobile homes.

Ashford Borough Council filed for a High Court injunction to prevent the land in High Halden being occupied
Ashford Borough Council filed for a High Court injunction to prevent the land in High Halden being occupied

“It has absolutely destroyed the land and it won’t be able to return to an agricultural field.”

Ambulance crews confirmed the hazardous area response team and air ambulance were called but - despite their best efforts - the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police officers have started making inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident and have informed the man’s next of kin.

It is believed the victim was working on electric cables when the incident happened.

The emergency injunction order had been granted in the High Court, but was ignored and caravans were brought onto the site.

A part retrospective planning application for change of use of the land for five gypsy pitches had been made but Ashford council turned down the scheme.

Last month, the authority initiated court proceedings to obtain an order for committal for breach of the emergency injunction, with an application listed for an initial hearing on Friday at the High Court.

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