TRAVELLERS who unlawfully pitched up near a leisure centre have moved after ten days.

The group of around five caravans moved off the field near the David Lloyd leisure centre on Snakes Lane last night, after pitching up on September 3.

They left on the same day as Southend Council secured a court order to remove them.

The group has since moved to Millennium Park along Princes Avenue.

Daniel Cowan, councillor for St Laurence ward, said: "Previous incursions such as this were not properly or sufficiently recorded in evidence by the previous administration, a clear failing on their part, so any application for a borough-wide injunction would not have succeeded, at great cost to the taxpayer.

"The new portfolio holder for Community Safety (previously Public Protection) is now properly collecting the necessary evidence to deal with illegal encampments and to build the case for any future injunction application that may be considered.

"What is clear is this administration is taking their duties seriously and using public finances responsibly whilst the opposition continue to call for money to be wasted to cover up their own failures in administration."

Daniel Nelson, councillor for Southchurch, said: "Those committing incursion would have been moved out of borough if Southend had an injunction.

"Instead cacophony coalition seem content with a piece meal approach.

"It’s not working."

Resident Sylvia Clarke, 61, said: "They have broken the gates and a lock on the front of the park. They are making us feel very intimidated and we want to take our dogs and we can’t. They have got all their washing. I’ve paid a lot of money to live here. It’s a nice and popular open space, I usually take my grandchildren over there and my grandson doesn’t want to go."

Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer contact at Southend Council, said: “We are aware of a number of caravans setting up illegally on Millennium Open Space and arrangements are in hand between Council officers and Essex Police to serve the initial notice to leave the land today.

"Essex Police and the Council have a strong record of working collaboratively to successfully resolve these complex situations."