TRAVELLERS have driven more than 20 miles up the A127 to set up camp in a beauty spot after spending three weeks in a Southend park.

Members of the group, who had been part of the traveller camp on Snakes Lane, Eastwood, have now moved onto the Beacon Field car park in Langdon Hills, prompting joint calls for security reviews.

Kerry Smith, the deputy leader at Basildon Council, has demanded an urgent review of Basildon’s parks, while Mark Flewitt, councillor of the St Laurence ward in Southend, has also called for the same emergency review in the seafront town.

It has been confirmed to the Echo, three caravans from the Snakes Lane incursion have joined up with the 12 vehicles at the woodland car park in Langdon Hills.

Councillors have been told by residents that caravans in Southend have been seen taking photos of Oakwood Park, in Leigh, in a potential plan to move there shortly.

This comes only days after Southend Council confirmed bosses were seeking a possession order on the travellers off Snakes Lane, after reported anti-social behaviour and a police investigation.

Mr Smith said: “Our parks need protecting from illegal traveller incursions as a matter of urgency.

“Both the police and the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit are using the flimsy excuse of Covid-19 to avoid taking legal action to evict travellers.

“As the powers that be won’t protect our precious open spaces, we must do all we can to protect these areas.”

The deputy leader added: “If we don’t watch our backs the travellers will take advantage.

“In a lot of parks, travellers could easily just pitch up and stay there for a long time.

“Camps cause a lot of tensions in the community. Our parks need protecting. Even if one vehicle is stopped, the rest will be turned away.”

Mr Flewitt, said: “I’m totally behind what Basildon are doing. Southend needs to do the same.

“Security measures like concrete bollards, which are cheaper and sturdier than height barriers, need to be installed.”

Both Basildon and Southend Council were contacted for comment.