POWERS to tackle illegal traveller camps are being reviewed after nearly 4,000 caravans were found on unauthorised sites.

Housing minister Dominic Raab insisted most travellers were 'decent and law-abiding' people but said the Government was 'particularly concerned' about sites that broke the law.

Around 3,700 caravans, 16% of the total, were on unauthorised sites, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

It said they could cause significant distress for local communities with concerns raised about fly-tipping and noise.

Living on unauthorised sites could harm travellers' health and education, the department added.

Mr Raab said: "The vast majority of the travelling community are decent and law-abiding people.

"But we are particularly concerned about illegal traveller encampments, and some of the anti-social behaviour they can give rise to.

"We must promote a tolerant society and make sure there are legal sites available for travellers, but equally the rule of law must be applied to everyone."

Plans for a review were first announced in October in Parliament.

The consultation, which will run until June 15, will look at what more can be done to allow local authorities, the police and landowners to deal with unauthorised sites and developments.