SECURITY needs to be stepped up after two convoys of travellers set up camp on Canvey, it has been claimed.

Caravans have moved onto land in Western Esplanade and in the car park of the Admiral Jellicoe pub, in High Street – just one mile away. The travellers began to arrive on the island at about 9pm on Wednesday.

It comes three years after travellers caused a summer of chaos on Canvey – which prompted traders to shut up shop and Castle Point Council to install bollards and barriers around its land. There were brawls and armed officers were even called to the field off Labworth car park following reports a man had been seen with a gun.

It is understood the council is currently liaising with Essex Police to move the new groups off the island.

Barry Campagna, Canvey Independent Party councillor for the island’s South ward, has called for action to be taken quickly. He said: “We were at the seafront at about 11pm and there were 15 caravans there.

“I just think this happens on too regular a basis now. Paperwork should really be in place ready for when they arrive.

“A lot of residents are upset. It’s a shame it happened, but we knew it probably would.

“We need to be at our best and on top of our game if we do experience problems again.”

His South ward colleague Barry Palmer – who is a member of the Canvey Bay Watch volunteer group alongside Mr Campagna –has called on the council and police to step up security measures on the seafront.

He told the Echo he is worried about damage to Thorney Bay Beach – which now has a disabled ramp, commemorative benches and decorative plant pots, thanks to the efforts of the dedicated group.

Mr Palmer said: “It is not a good situation to be in and we are now concerned about even the Bay Watch improvements.

“It affects the seafront traders and they cannot afford to lose business all summer because of these camps.

“Bollards were put in place to restrict access to traveller communities in the past, but they are finding new locations to pitch up.”

Castle Point Council has said it is working alongside Essex Police to deal with the new camps.

The Admiral Jellicoe Pub closed mysteriously a year ago.

At the time, new licensee Kyla Cox claimed it would be undergoing a £300,000 refurbishment. Her ambitious plans included adding a restaurant and function rooms.