Frustrated farmers heard little to put their minds at ease on Monday when they met police to discuss the issue of travellers setting up camp on their land.

The issue dominated a meeting of the Royal Borough's Rural Forum held at the Town Hall - also attended by councillors.

Wraysbury councillor Colin Rayner, who himself runs Berkyn Manor farm in Horton, challenged police Inspector Louise Warbrick about what happened to a neighbour of his whose land was 'invaded'.

He said: "In three days they dumped £100,000 worth of waste there. Why did not you act?"

William Emmett, who farms in Holyport, questioned police advice to get registration numbers of cars if travellers arrived on a site, saying: "On Holyport Green there were a number of vehicles that had no plates at all."

He said that landowners often faced intimidation and tended to get better results from employing bailiffs than if they called the police.

Inspector Warbrick told the meeting that police had limited powers against people who camped on someone's land, unless they believed criminal activity or disorderly behaviour was happening.

She said: "On a recent operation in Dedworth we found a stolen bike on a site and were then able to take action."

She told landowners they needed to ask unwanted travellers to leave first, which did not impress Cookham farmer Geoffrey Copas, who said: "You might get beaten up and then you can call the police."

One farmer said that some landowners had been known to pay travellers to go although they would be embarrassed to admit it, because it was the simplest way out.