DOZENS of travellers have pitched up on land next to Basildon Sporting Village ... after making the short trip from Langdon Hills. 

The large encampment, consisting of at least 18 caravans and other vehicles, pitched up on the Gloucester Park field, neighbouring the sporting village, on Cranes Farm Road, at 11am on Sunday. 

The group had been living on the Beacon Field car park, off Dry Street in Langdon Hills since early last week, after previously being in Southend

Basildon Council deputy leader, Councillor Kerry Smith, said: “I am aware of the encampment, it looks to me like they’re the same group as those who were at Beacon Field- they left Sunday unannounced.

“Shortly after a resident called to inform me they’d gone, but then I received the news that caravans had arrived here. They got through privately managed gates. 

“It’s frustrating- if it is the same group they’ve moved from Southend, to Beacon Field, and now here. 

“If the council were to constantly protect all the land that has been marked for potential land incursion it would cost the tax payer £4,000.

“Now it’s time to stop talking about the Irish option, which makes trespassing an offence, and just get on with it. It’s not fair and is becoming a problem all over.”

Essex Police have confirmed that action to deal with the travellers sits with the landowners in the first instance, which is Basildon Council.

Senior councillors at Basildon Council say a section 61 order to move the travellers on has been issued, although the force have denied issuing one since Sunday.

Councillor David Harrison, chair of the neighbourhoods and public spaces committee, said: “The group at Langdon Hills were meant to be moved by yesterday, so we think they just went a day early and suspect they moved here instead. 

“It appears they’re moving round sites across south Essex- the sooner we move then on the better.”

Basildon Mayor, David Burton-Sampson, added: “This is not a camp. What myself and residents are concerned about is that there might be damage to the site after, with it being a cricket pitch. 

“I hope while they’re there they are respectful and will leave it in the same way they found it.”

A council spokesperson said: “The matter has been referred to the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit who will determine the appropriate processes to be followed.”