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13 September 2011, 16:29
A man from Newcastle has appeared before magistrates for throwing racist insults at travellers facing eviction from the UK's largest illegal settlement in Essex, a court has confirmed.
68 year old Anthony Balfour, of Graham Park Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, was arrested on Monday after police officers at Dale Farm, near Basildon, Essex, heard abuse being used towards residents.
He was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. He admitted the crime at Southend magistrates on Tuesday morning and was given a conditional discharge.
The clearance of Dale Farm, led by Basildon Council, is expected to begin on Monday. It follows a decade-long row over unauthorised properties on the former scrap yard.
Although half of the site is legal, more than 80 properties have no planning permission and about 400 people are said to be living there illegally.
Travellers and their supporters have promised to resist eviction without violence but police have begun preparations for major disorder.