A LABOUR newsletter has been branded borderline racist and inflammatory after it claimed traveller pitches will create “massive issues” for police.

Traveller pitches in Basildon have proved a hot topic recently, with government regulations requiring the council to allocate 53 pitches and three sites by 2034.

Under the heading Dale Farm II, the leaflet claimed the existing traveller sites in Basildon will treble in size.

It reads: “This will create massive issues for the police and the council, trying to deal with a bigger site than Dale Farm. No discussions have even taken place with the police to understand how dangerous this proposal is.”

Labour deputy leader, David Burton-Sampson insisted the claim is in relation to the “hub model” being proposed, which would see a large number of travellers on one site. But concerns have been raised over the wording.

Former Labour councillor, Phil Rackley, 69, said: “The Labour group had a long history of opposing the evictions from Dale Farm. I think it a bit much now the Labour group is saying that we could get a Dale Farm II.

“At a time when the Labour party is saying nationally it wants to stop racism, this leaflet could be seen to be racist.”

Basildon Council’s leader, Andrew Baggott, slammed the divisive tactics, claiming the Labour party are using their “same old tactics” to create a divide in the community.

He said: “It fails to recognise there is a large number who are just as law abiding as the rest of us. It has always been a Labour tactic to scaremonger and be divisive, and that is the case here.

“Their whole strategy is negative, and this aims to create a divide in the community.”

Mr Burton-Sampson said: “Last year, the Tories accused Labour of taking a fairy dust approach to traveller sites. As far as we are concerned we had in place appropriate plan with pitches spread across the borough in appropriate places.

“What the Tories have proposed is a mass development in a hub format, it has been proven that this is very difficult to police and we are not convinced they have consulted with police.

“They have also proposed to make 35 illegal encampments, legal. This sends the wrong message. The claim in the leaflet relates to the size of the proposed hub, which will cause issues for police. This has been proved previously.”