COUNCIL bosses are seeking a court order to remove travellers who have been camped on a sports field for more than a week.

Ten caravans remain on the field of Westcliff Rugby Club, which is based on Aviation Way, Southend, where they settled last Monday.

It’s believed to be the same group which was moved on from Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park on August 11.

It comes as debate continues to rage over whether a ban on illegal encampments across the borough rages on.

Southend Tory boss Tony Cox believes this could’ve been avoided if the injunction was in place.

He said: “This is a problem that won’t go away, they’re just constantly moving from one land to another.

“Each time it’s costing the council nearly £3,000 [to pay for] the damage and removal.

“They wouldn’t have settled here if an injunction was in place by the council.”

Martin Terry, councillor for community safety and customer contact, said: “Tony Cox is quite frankly talking out of his back side.

“Even if there was a borough-wide injunction in place it wouldn’t cover that area of land, because it’s part of Rochford, not Southend.

“This is a sensitive issue and I don’t condone illegal encampment, but they are being compliant.”

Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, added: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment on council-owned land outside of our borough boundary.

“An application for possession was issued in the Southend County Court on August 13 and we are awaiting a hearing date.

“A notice of motion at council on June 13 sought a borough-wide injunction to deter illegal encampments, so this would not have covered the encampment referred to above.”

“The travellers are being monitored by the Parks Team, and although the land in question is outside of borough boundaries, detailed records are being kept of the encampment and any harm caused.”

Rochford District Council confirmed it was aware of the issue, being dealt with by Southend Council.