TRAVELLERS who caused “havoc” have been ordered to leave a public field.

At least ten caravans arrived at Sun Corner, Billericay, on Friday night at around 8.25pm.

It was reported that damage was caused to police vehicles at the site and a padlock to the field’s gates was also broken and a dog was dangerously out of control.

Essex Police said there was nothing to suggest police vehicles had been damaged when the group arrived on site.

Conservative councillor Andrew Schrader, who represents the Billericay East ward, attended the scene on Saturday morning to assess the situation.

He said: “I can confirm that the gate was locked. The lock has been broken.

“The police were on site almost immediately.

“A officer of Basildon Borough Council visited the site at 7am Saturday morning, as did councillor Richard Moore, one of the ward councillors for Burstead.

“There are about ten caravans, which means the encampment does fall within the scope of the Police’s ‘section 61’ powers, which enables them to immediately order the encampment to disperse.

“But whether or not to use those powers will be an operational decision for the police.

“I will be contacting the district commander to urge him to ask his officers to do so.

“I believe the decision will be resource dependent and, of course.

“They picked a bank holiday weekend because they know public bodies operate on skeleton staff.”

Billericay resident James Dawson, 34, said: “Once again we go through this charade.

“It’s such a monumental waste of police and public resources trying to deal with people who choose to live outside of conventional society.

“We need laws that prevent them stopping on public property without all this red tape nonsense of giving them time to stay and create havoc.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “We were called shortly before 8.25pm on Friday with reports of an unauthorised encampment on a field off Sun Street. We served notices under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act on Sunday. These direct the travellers to leave the land.”