TRAVELLERS have been accused of cutting through a fence to set up an encampment behind a Shoebury school.

Councillors have claimed between 10 and 15 caravans pitched up on a piece of green belt land near Hinguar School, in Shoebury, on Friday.

They left the area yesterday evening. 

The private land been enclosed by fencing, however councillor Tony Cox believes the group cut open a hole in the fencing to gain access.

“It appears there may have been some damage done to gain access to the site,” Mr Cox said.

“It was a site that had been secured off to be used for a potential future development, and that fencing looked to me like it had been cut.”

Mr Cox says he received numerous calls and emails from residents to report the groups arrival.

Essex Police and Southend Council were informed, but since the land is privately owned, an attempt to move them from the site would have required the land owner to direct them to leave.

Mr Cox added: “The good news is the dialogue I have had with the police has proved fruitful as they have moved on.

“But there are concerns remaining. There is a possibility they will be moving from site to site throughout the coming week, so we will be keeping our eyes out for that.

“We have had in the past, with traveller incursions, some pretty bad anti-social behaviour.”

In 2019 a large group moved into the Gas Works car park in Southend.

The encampment along Eastern Esplanade was reportedly site to nuisance behaviours such as public drinking, loud music and shouting.

In 2021 about 30 caravans were forcibly moved on from Rayleigh Leisure Centre car park by Essex Police following complaints of anti-social behaviour.

Essex Police would not confirm whether its officers had visited the site in Shoebury as the encampment was on private land and a civil matter.

Residents are advised to report any concerns with ASB occurring to or if its a crime, to police via or 999 if it is an emergency in relation to an incursion.