A BUSINESS has paid out hundreds of pounds on extra security after travellers pitched up on land opposite their site.

Staff arriving at Rapid Electronics, in Severalls Lane, Colchester, yesterday were greeted with the sight of five caravans, a tent, a truck, and a number of dogs and children on the piece of land.

The travellers, who had arrived on Saturday evening, accessed the land by cutting through the firm’s car park.

The land is privately owned by a number of individuals.

Kirsty Johnson, finance manager at Rapid Electronics, said: “We knew about it on Saturday because our trade counter is here.

“We had extra security put on the site over the weekend.

“We have a company called MSG which locks up for us and come in the morning, but we got them to stay all weekend, from 6pm on Saturday to this morning.”

Mrs Johnson said the cost of the extra security guard to the firm was £500.

She said they could not prove the travellers would commit any criminal offences but wanted to take precautions.

She said: “We just want our building to be secure. It is a difficult one because it doesn’t mean they are going to do anything but when you have nobody here you have got to man the site.”

The Gazette approached a woman traveller yesterday who said they intended to move on shortly.

Rubbish, including lager cans, was scattered around but the woman said it was already on the land when they arrived.

She showed us bin bags that had been provided by Colchester Council yesterday.

The woman said they had come from a site near Heathrow Airport.

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “We are working with Essex County Council to ascertain the encampment’s intentions, however it is the responsibility of the landowner to take any necessary steps they see fit if their private land is trespassed upon.”

The travellers’ arrival comes ahead of the opening of a £1.7million legal site in Severalls Lane later this month.

There are fears the legal site will attract more travellers than it can cater for.

Martin Goss, borough councillor for Mile End, said: “It was predicted the site would draw other people and, hey-ho, the prediction came true.

Essex County Council should not put these sites on people’s doorsteps.”

A spokesman for the owners of the land opposite Rapid Electronics said they did not wish to comment.