Article by Tommy Wathen: A group of caravans has been spotted on a public playing field in Billericay this afternoon.
At least seven mobile homes arrived at Hannakins Farm, Billericay, at around 1pm on Monday, January 29.
The picture, which was taken by a local resident while out walking their dogs, shows the large unauthorised encampment pitched up near the playground.
The witness said:
"We were walking the dogs when we noticed loads of trucks and caravans. I took a photo and said to my friend that the gates being closed will affect the businesses there like the after-school clubs, football, dog grooming place, car wash and people using Hannakins Farm itself. I tried talking to the guys that were shouting at the man that closed the gates, but all they wanted to do was give us grief so we walked away. The police were called by the man on the gate, but I don't know if they turned up and I was only walking past with a friends that lives nearby. It's a shame that they haven't got a place to have as a base as it would save a lot of money in the long run as the mess that they leave behind costs us money to clear and it would make life easier all round. I am meeting my friend again at the weekend so I am hope they have moved on by then."
A Basildon Council spokesperson said:
"Basildon Council is aware of the current unauthorised encampment in the car park at Hannakins Farm Community Centre in Billericay and is working in partnership with Essex Countywide Traveller Unit and Essex Police to take appropriate action."
Essex Police have been contacted for comment.
Article by Tommy Wathen, EssexLive