A GROUP of travellers cut through locked gates to set up camp near a children’s play area.

The group were spotted at a park off Thorney Bay Road, Canvey on Monday night.

Norman Smith, Tory leader of Castle Point Council, said his officers have served the travellers notice to leave the site.

He said: “It’s two caravans and they cut open a padlock.

“It’s being dealt with by the team we always use when we have intrusion cases such as this.

“They have entered illegally and so far we’ve had no reports of any issues.

“We are just waiting the outcome now that we have served them with a notice.

“They have just driven onto the land and broken the padlock.

“It is disappointing and isn’t something you expect to be dealing with, you just assume it’ll be OK.

“It is not a large group and we hope they will be moving on soon.

“They are parked to the right of the children’s play area.”

Families said it stops youngsters enjoying the park.

Marilyn Jones, 30, of Long Road, Canvey said: “I know it’s a difficult issue and people often say they have no where to go but they shouldn’t be there.

“Children and youngsters want to use this park and we cannot now because of this.

“I hope there are no issue or rubbish left behind. I am pleased to hear the council has taken swift action and I hope they can find somewhere more suitable very soon.

“I know it’s caused quite a stir in the community and people are very worried about it.”

Peter Burrows, 29, of May Avenue, Canvey said: “I do feel for these travellers as I know there’s an ongoing issue with sites but it’s wrong that they have broken into the park.

“We cannot allow them to be doing this sort of thing, it’s one thing to park up where you shouldn’t, and is a different thing to break into a park.

“The seafront has become so popular in recent years and I hope this doesn’t have any bad impact on the seafront attractions.

“Yet again, more taxpayers money is used to move them on.

“I think we could do with a blanket ban in place and plans to confiscate their vehicles.

“I also think these people should be prosecuted for trespassing.”

Essex Police said the force was called at at 9:15pm on Monday and a Section 61 notice had been served.