MORE travellers have pitched up illegally on land near Colchester United’s stadium – complaining councils haven’t provided enough sites for them.
Eight caravans arrived on a field behind the U’s Astro-turf pitches yesterday lunchtime.
The club alerted Essex Police and Colchester Council amid fears the travellers will be on the land when its open day takes place on Sunday, July 20.
The travellers told the Gazette they numbered about 30 and had come from Surrey.
They said they did not know how long theywere going to stay and bemoaned the lack of official traveller sites in Essex.
They arrived less than 48 hours after an unconnected group of travellers pitched up on another section of land to the east of the stadium.
Legal proceedings have already been started by the council to clear the first traveller site, but it can take up to seven days.
A Colchester United spokesman said: “We are working with the relevant authorities to find a resolution.
“The area they are on is utilised at times, including what will be a very busy club open day.”
Martin Goss, borough councillor for Mile End, said: “Using the same old lame excuse there is nowhere to go simply doesn’t wash.
“It’s just a poor excuse to illegally camp, leave behind piles of unwanted rubbish and expect taxpayers to pay to clear it all up. Travellers’ sites have been provided at huge cost to the taxpayer, so they should use them.”
Essex Police were called at 12.30pm and sent officers, who took details of the vehicles.
A spokesman said: “They have spoken to the travellers, who claimed all the sites in Essex are full.
“We are liaising with them to try to get them to move to an area of waste land.”
The land is owed by Colchester Council and rented by the football club. A council spokesman said the authority hopes the travellers who arrived yesterday can be considered under the same proceedings it has already started to evict the caravans that arrived on Sunday.
The Direction to Leave Notice will be served today and will give the travellers 24 hours to leave.
If the travellers have not left by tomorrow, the council’s legal team will pursue a court