CAMPAIGNERS are battling to stop two more bookmakers opening in Colchester High Street.

Coral wants to open in the former Britannia building society and Paddy Power at the old Pizza Hut restaurant.

It would take the number of High Street bookies to five and the town centre to nine.

But church leaders, traders and anti-gambling campaigners are urging Colchester Council to refuse the applications.

They are particularly concerned about the highly-addictive roulette machines – dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

The Rev Mark Wallace, town centre vicar, said: “If they take money out of our economy and contribute relatively little in return, it seems the town will be the poorer – in every sense of the word.”

See Thursday's Gazette for a special report