A COUNCILLOR was hit by a car after she formed a human shield with two colleagues to try to stop a convoy of travellers getting on to a disused car park.
Linda Allport-Hodge, Ukip councillor for Nethermaye, was struck by a vehicle after the driver threatened to run the trio over.
She was blocking a footpath by an underpass he was trying to use to get on to private land, off Nethermayne, Basildon, at about 9pm on Monday.
Mrs Allport-Hodge, who was with Tory council deputy leader Kevin Blake and Ukip leader Kerry Smith, was shocked, but unhurt. She said: “Some caravans had already got into the former car park along the footpath to the underpass, so we decided to stand together in front of it and stop any more getting in.
“An irate man got out of his vehicle and said: ‘If you don’t get out of my way I am going to run you over’. We didn’t move and he got in, revved up and drove towards us.”
She said he stopped just short of them, but then jolted forward, hitting her.
She added: “He then came over and I told him he had assaulted an officer of the council. He said he had shunted forward by accident and would never hurt a woman.”
The incident happened after Mr Smith, who lives nearby, visited the BP garage at Roundacre roundabout and saw the caravans moving on to the land.
He contacted Mr Blake, who is acting as leader while council leader Phil Turner is away, and fellow ward councillor Mrs Allport-Hodge.
Kerry Smith said: “I called the police at 9.42pm as a traveller was threatening to run us over if we didn’t make way for him.
“He carried on driving towards us and banged Linda on her hand.
“He realised what he had done and parked at the BP garage and then came over saying his foot had slipped.
“They have to be moved now. I call upon Nick Alston as police and crime commissioner to enforce the law and evict them.”
The man who drove at the trio gave up and left. Mr Smith called 999 to report the assault on his colleague although there were already two officers at the kebab van next to the BP garage.
He said: “There was a police car with two officers at the kebab van. They hadawordwith some of the travellers and told them not to go on to the land, but then they just drove off to eat their kebabs. They did nothing to help us stop the travellers.”
He added: “We got no response from police through 999. No officers attended, even though we had reported an assault with a vehicle.”
ESSEX Police say off-duty officers were at the scene, but did not witness the assault.
A spokesman said they received two calls on Monday, July 28, in relation to travellers turning up on the land – one shortly after 8.30pm and another just after 9.30pm.
The spokesman said: “Two plain-clothed police officers were on their refreshment break in the
area at the time and became aware of the travellers’ encampment. The officers engaged with the
travellers and called for further police assistance. They did not witness an assault.
“Police have liaised with councillor Allport Hodge, but no statement has been provided.”
The spokesman said there are no “aggravating factors” to require police action.
They added: “If an unauthorised traveller encampment occurs, there are a number of parties who
have a role to play in responding to the situation, including the landowner, the relevant local authority and the police.
“When the correct circumstances and legal justification apply, Essex Police will and do invoke Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
“At this time there are no aggravating factors.
“Police were in attendance at the location again yesterday.”