A FURIOUS councillor says he received more than 200 complaints after three travellers camps set up at a popular beauty spot.

A group of about 20 caravans pitched up at three different sections of High Woods Country Park on Friday after being moved on from Colchester Rugby Club, in Mill Road.

The travellers eventually moved on late on Sunday after being served a Section 61 notice by Essex Police, but not before leaving their mark on the Colchester Council-run park.

Highwoods councillor Gerard Oxford said he had been contacted by more than 200 residents over the weekend, with complaints about quadbikes being ridden in the park, trees being felled and bonfires.


He said: “Residents have had a hard time over the weekend.

“I had over 200 people contacting me complaining about the travellers over the weekend.

“I know a number of residents of my ward contacted the police directly with their complaints.

“They were chopping down trees and starting bonfires and there has been a mess left behind.

“Quadbikes were seen riding around the country park from the moment they arrived.”

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Mile End ward councillor Martin Goss thanked residents for continuing to report the incidents to police.


He said: “The public have been brilliant in reporting incidents to the police and because of their efforts police used their powers to move them on quickly.

“If we had to go through the courts then it can take seven to ten days to get them moving.

“The police have done as much as they can and I can’t praise them enough. They were out patrolling every few hours over the weekend.”

Colchester Council staff began a clean up operation yesterday at the three parts of the park where travellers were based.

Mr Oxford said he had already requested High Woods Country Park, and other council open spaces, be given extra protection to prevent unauthorised encampments.

He said: “I have asked the council to install commercial barriers so we can better protect sites in the borough.

“Whether it will happen or not I don’t know but I can only ask.

“I am told the clear-up is already underway and we’ve been told by residents there is a lot of mess, but to be honest we didn’t expect anything less.”

  • Mr Goss and Mr Oxford are standing for election in May's elections.
  • The other candidates in Highwoods are: Diane Baker (Reform UK), Clare Burgess (Green), Kieron Franks (Lib Dem), Jocelyn Law (Lab) and Stephen Rowe (Con).
  • The other candidates in Mile End are: Pauline Bacon (Lab), Amanda Kike (Green) and Rachel Smith (Con).