TRAVELLERS have pitched up on a sports field in Colchester for the second time in six weeks.

A small group of about four caravans arrived at Colchester Rugby Club, in Mill Road, on Friday.

A larger group of caravans also pitched up on the rugby club towards the end of April before moving on to High Woods Country Park.

The area is set to be redeveloped into hundreds of new homes, as well as medical facilities and a care home, as part of the Northern Gateway development.

Colchester Rugby Club is popular with sports fans and dog walkers in the Highwoods area of Colchester.

Colchester Council, which is working on the redevelopment plans, is said to be aware of the incursion.

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Councillor Martin Goss (Mile End, Lib Dem) said: "Council officers are contacting the police to see what evidence or calls they had over the weekend.

"I’ve sent any evidence I have across submitted by the public to council officers.

"The legal process for court order removal is 7 to 10 days unless the police use emergency section 61 powers.

"They can only use those powers if the public have made lots of calls providing relevant evidence."

It is believed the travellers gained access through some fencing set up for building works on the site.

A Colchester Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment of four caravans which set up at Mill Road Rugby Club, on land owned by Colchester Borough Council, last Friday.

“The police and ECTU have both visited the site and the travellers have indicated they will leave the area by 1pm today.

"ECTU is currently preparing direction to leave notices, should the group fail to move on by mid-afternoon.”