ESSEX Police’s response to an invasion of travellers in Southend and Canvey has been praised.

Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston and Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris commended the force’s “prompt and vigorous” action against travellers which decided on Labworth Park in Canvey on Friday before moving to Southend on Sunday.

Officers from across the county were brought in to police the island and Southend as disorder broke out. Back up included firearms Mr Alston said: "The incidents which occurred in Canvey over the weekend were understandably frightening and distressing for all of those residents who witnessed them.

"From discussions with police, I know it is always a challenge for officers to deal with those seemingly intent on causing trouble and disorder. However I am pleased that Essex Police acted swiftly and robustly to deal with the incidents.

"Officers were brought into Canvey Island, including resources from other parts of the county, to contain the disorder and move on those responsible. Specialist resources, including firearms officers and the police helicopter, were also brought in to support officers on the ground. No weapons were recovered and thankfully no-one was seriously injured, a good result given the scale of the disturbances and number of those involved.

"It is important to remember that where there are issues involving travellers attempting to move on to land unlawfully, that the response must involve land owners, local councils and the police working closely together to resolve these issues, as all have powers and responsibilities to deal with unlawful encampments.”

Meanwhile Rebecca Harris said: "I would like to thank Essex Police for a prompt and vigorous response to these incidents, and for then keeping me fully briefed through to the early hours of Sunday morning.”