MULTIPLE traveller caravans remain on a public field this morning after invading overnight.

Around ten caravans arrived on Sun Corner, Billericay last night at around 8.25pm.

Reports on social media stated the group had damaged police vehicles and broken a padlock to open the gates.

Essex Police have confirmed they are investigating the unauthorised encampment but said there was nothing to suggest police vehicles had been damaged.

Tory councillor Andrew Schrader, of Billericay East ward, attended the scene this morning.

He said: "I can confirm that the gate was locked. The lock has been broken. (Yes, of course we know it was one of them that did it but, obviously, we cannot name any particular individual, which would be a requirement for the police to do anything about it. It's very frustrating.)

"The police were on site almost immediately. A officer of Basildon Borough Council visited the site at 7am this morning, as did Cllr Richard Moore, one of the ward councillors for Burstead. Cllr Kevin Blake has been liaising with officers.

"There are about ten caravans, which means the encampment does fall within the scope of the Police's 'section 61' powers (which enables them to immediately order the encampment to disperse) but whether or not to use those powers will be an operational decision for the Police. I will be contacting the District Commander to urge him to ask his officers to do so.

"I believe the decision will be resource dependent and, of course, the travellers are very canny. They pick a bank holiday weekend because they know public bodies operate on skeleton staff."