The Lord Chancellor's Department and Home Office have launched a county court procedure using sections of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to combat squatting in houses, shops and other buildings. Under the procedure a person with a right to immediate possession of a building or land or part of a building or its ancillary land can go to a county court for an interim possession order. It will be a criminal offence not to leave premises within 24 hours of service of an order or to make a false or misleading statement to obtain an order. This last offence aims to protect genuine tenants from unscrupulous landlords. Home Office Minister David Maclean said: "For too long squatters have caused nuisance and heartache to property owners and occupiers."