FURIOUS campaigners waved banners and chanted “stop the chop” as they protested outside a Southend bingo hall.

Southend Tree Action Group, which has held a series of protests across Southend in recent months, gathered outside the Mecca Bingo Hall on Sutton Road claiming four trees had been “wrongfully felled”.

The protesters, who also claim trees next to the bingo hall are being “wrongfully pruned”, are demanding action and argue there is no planning permission for trees to be chopped down.

The alleged axing of trees has been reported to Southend Council, however it has not responded to a request for comment.

Following the protest on Saturday, a spokesman for Southend Tree Action Group said: “They are hacking the trees down over there quite badly and they are removing trees, which goes against their planning permission.

“We have called for this protest because I find the plans outrageous, maybe four trees have been removed so far when the bordering development has been told they must preserve the trees being removed.

“We have contacted the bingo hall and we have contacted the owner; these trees must be retained and they must be protected from destruction.

“There was an allowance of them being pruned to the development boundary, but the trees were meant to be left in situ, taking them up completely is wrong.

“That is why we are rallying together to protest.”

The protest, which was held despite a sudden downpour, saw protesters waving tree shaped banners and calling for Mecca to “stop the chop” outside of the hall.

Southend Tree Action Group’s most high-profile action saw them fight to save a 100-year old oak tree in Holt Farm, Ashingdon after it was scheduled to get the chop as a result of a 662-home development planned by Bloor Homes.

The spokesman added: “I’m just astounded really, we believe it is utter madness and we have concerns that the employee they sent down wasn’t adequately equipped with the correct health and safety equipment as well, which is just beyond belief.

“I don’t know how this has been allowed.”

The spokesman added that Southend Council has been made aware of the situation.

A council spokesman said: “Whilst we cannot comment on planning enforcement cases specifically, we can confirm that we are aware of this matter, and it is being investigated.”

Mecca Bingo has been contacted for comment.