SWIFT action from police saw a group of travellers moved on less than 24 hours after they arrived.

Residents reported seeing roughly nine caravans as well as other vehicles pitch up on a small green in Shoebury, bordering the A13, at roughly 7pm on Thursday.

Police used a section 61 order to move on the travellers, who all left by 3pm on Friday, as well as discovering that one caravan had been stolen and was subsequently seized.

Southend Council confirmed the group “peacefully left the borough”.

Residents were outraged to see the travellers arrive, on the green surrounding Shillingstone.

One resident, who lives opposite the green but asked not to be named, said: “I actually could not believe what I was seeing.

“It is not a small bit of land, but it is not a park or anything like that, and they took over the whole green.

“I counted at least nine caravans, plus a load of other vehicles.

“I didn’t know what to do on Thursday night, I found myself just watching them outside the window waiting for something to happen, of course it didn’t, but I was worried, our children are normally playing out there.

“I saw the police move them on, it did seem very calm and under control, so fair play to the police.

“I suppose its our bit of excitement for the week, we don’t get much trouble around here.”

Southend Council was made aware of travellers occupying unauthorised police and worked closely with Essex police to secure orders to move the group on.

A spokesman for Southend community policing team said: “Southend Police have been working with Essex GTRET (Gypsy Traveller Rural Engagement Team) today to assess and disperse an unauthorised encampment in Shoebury. This resulted in a large number of occupiers being given directions to leave under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1995.

“One of the caravans was also discovered to have been stolen, and was subsequently seized by officers.

“We would like to thank residents for their vigilance, support and cooperation. We ask that members of the public report these incidents as and when they happen, so that we may act on the information appropriately and in a timely manner.”