TRADERS in Shoebury are fearing for their future after the indefinite closure of East Beach.

Fences were put up around the beach after 15 artillery and mortar shells, and 12 machine guns, were found in 13 days.

A Ministry of Defence investigation is under way.

Traders say the closure, starting just before the bank holiday weekend, has come at the worst possible time. Andrew Skone, 57, runs ATS Party Supplies on the corner of the High Street leading to the beach, selling ice creams, buckets and spades.

He said: “Bank holidays are always good for us and this is generally one of our busiest periods, but we have been told they don’t know how long the beach is going to be closed.

“We normally get a lot of Londoners who queue to get into the car park, but now we’re all stocked up with no-one to sell to.”

Lynda Kelly, 42, manager, said trade on Saturday was so bad she did not even bother opening on Sunday.

She said: “It was like a ghost town.

“The people who did come were complaining when they went up to the beach because they could only get to the park."

Harish Panchal, 60, runs Station News opposite Shoebury train station and usually benefits from the passing trade of people travelling by rail to go the beach.

He said: “I know they need to make it safe, but they can’t just close the beach all summer.

“It’s an inconvenience to the public as a whole and very bad for me as a shopkeeper because my main business is in the summer period.

“Whatever they need to do, they should do quickly, but there’s no clear information about what’s happening or even how long it’s going to take.

“I only knew about it because it was in the Echo.”