THE maximum estimated cost of evicting travellers from Dale Farm in Crays Hill has risen to £18 million, the Echo can reveal.

Basildon Council is set to vote on March 14 to reserve £8 million for the large-scale clearance of 96 families.

The new figure is on top of the £10 million Essex Police estimates it could cost the force.

The vote will go ahead despite the Department for Communities and Local Government refusing to provide any funding towards the operation.

Council leader Tony Ball said: "I am disappointed that the minister felt this was something Basildon has to deal with rather than a national problem."

Read the full story in Monday's Echo.