New laws announced later this year could see travellers removed from land immediately.

In Government proposals which will be implemented in the Autumn, police could move travellers on within hours of their arrival.

The proposals, confirmed by Priti Patel earlier this week, are likely to be in line with the so-called Irish Option, which has been demanded in south Essex for years.

The Irish Option would see police treat trespassing as a criminal offence.

Southend and Basildon have had to deal with traveller encampments since the summer began, and the move has been welcomed by MPs and councillors, who say improved legislation has been a long time coming.

Andrew Schrader, councillor for Billericay East, has written to the Home Secretary several times urging for the Irish Option to be introduced, and is pleased at the progress.

Basildon Standard:

Pleased - councillor Andrew Schrader

He said: “We have to hope it is the Irish Option as she didn’t spell it out.

“The current measures are inadequate. We all know that. We’ve been banging our heads against a brick wall for years now.”

The Government launched a consultation last year to discuss the benefits of the Irish Option, which Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford was involved in.

The MP, said: “I have personally lobbied the Home Secretary to bring in the legislation to enact the Irish Option as soon as possible, so I am delighted to hear that this is now likely to occur when the House of Commons returns from the Summer Recess in the Autumn.

"Like many fellow MPs, I have always believed that the law should apply equally to both members of the settled and travelling community and this will help to make this a reality.”

Mr Schrader explained how the change in law will impact how Basildon Council and Essex Police deals with travellers, adding: “Police will be able to treat encampments like any other crime.

“They currently can only use their section 61 powers. But the bar is set so high they rarely use it.

“The council has to pursue encampments through the courts, which can be a lengthy process. You’re at the mercy of the courts.

“We’ve got quite good at them because we’ve had so many of them.

The clear up cost of travellers can be astronomical. It’s an open cheque.”