A GROUP of travellers have this evening settled into their third home in 48 hours after being evicted by police relying on emergency powers.

The 17 caravan-strong convoy has settled into their new home on the green at St Mary The Virgin Parish Church, near to Asda, in Shoebury.

Basildon Standard:

Before - the group is believed to have travelled there after police imposed a section 61 order, moving them on from the car park at Gunners Park in Shoebury

The group is believed to have travelled there after police imposed a section 61 order, moving them on from the car park at Gunners Park in Shoebury.

Before settling there, the travellers had set up camp in the Gas Works car park in Southend.

They left that site at about 9am yesterday.

One woman, who was walking her dog in Gunners Park when they arrived, said: “They drove in, in a big convoy and blocked everyone else in the car park.

“It was very intimidating to be surrounded by them all at once. I couldn’t even get out until they made space for me.

“One of the children squirted my dog with a water gun and when I asked him not to, he tried to scare my dog again.

“The whole thing left me feeling very uncomfortable. The group just seemed like they didn’t care.

“I’m really worried about the nature reserve and the wild life - it’s a really carefully managed area and they could disturb it.”

Southend Council confirmed that height restriction barriers for the site were locked and secure on Wednesday and also yesterday morning, but when council officers arrived, locks for the height restriction barrier had been removed and were missing.

Police were then called about the unauthorised encampment which was taking place at Gunners Park, and requested that they vacate the site by 3pm.

During this time, two caravans were seized and suspected to be stolen.

Tony Cox, leader of Southend Council, said: “This is beyond a joke, the travellers are being chased in and around the borough.

“Since December 2017, I’m aware of 23 different incursions like this. We’ll be considering all options to prevent this from happening again.”