A CHIPPENHAM farmer has admitted driving his tractor fitted with a spike into the side of a gipsy caravan after being incensed that it was parked in his field.

Although taking the law into his own hands can not be condoned many people will understand his frustration.

This case could have had a much more tragic ending as a young family was inside the caravan when the spike was driven into its side.

The farmer is adamant he did not know it was occupied but he could have been facing a much more serious charge if the people had been injured.

But the problem of travellers moving on to people's land often causes tempers to fray and it can only be time before this sort of incident will end in a tragedy for all concerned.

The law on the subject is complicated and landowners are often left having to take civil action to reclaim their own fields.

Police only become involved when actual crimes have been committed or to make sure there is no trouble when evictions are carried out.

Wiltshire has in the past had huge problems with travellers arriving in the county ready for the summer solstice and using any bit of spare land to park before moving on to Avebury or Stonehenge.

For many farmers the memory of illegal encampments is still very vivid and the sight of a travellers' caravan is enough to cause fury.

They are the ones left footing the bill for spoilt crops or damaged hedgerows.

This farmer obviously went too far but it is time both the Government and the county council did more to make it easier for people to protect their own land and homes.