COUNCIL officers will go to court today as they battle to evict travellers from public land.

The Echo revealed yesterday five caravans have pitched up on top of the Shotgate roundabout, in Southend Road. They were later joined by six caravans in the adjacent grass verge.

Essex County Council will today seek a Direction to Leave notice from the courts. It means the group of travellers will be given 24 hours to comply. If they remain, further legal action will be taken.

Stay-at-home mum, Joe Squires, 39, who lives close to both encampments, said: “To be honest I talk to travellers and don’t have a problem with them.

“The only trouble I’ve personally witnessed, and that isn’t from this group, is when they have left behind mess and human excrement in the past.

“They will be moved on, and that’s fine. But the real issue here is what Basildon Council is going to do with this sudden influx of travellers we seem to be experiencing.

“I’m hopeful they will take note and realise that something really needs to be done.

“If we had more permanent traveller pitches they’d have somewhere to set up shop.

“Why does this borough have such a big problem?”

A spokesman for Basildon Council, said: "Anticipated demand for traveller pitches has been taken into consideration during the process of developing a new Local Plan for Basildon borough.

“In the draft Local Plan, which has been the subject of a public consultation, potential locations have been identified which could provide 104 new pitches.

“The council agreed to review this need in September 2016 and updates are currently underway to inform the final Local Plan which is due to be submitted to the Government later this year.

“Basildon Council has also outlined that it will continue to work with other local planning authorities and Essex County Council to secure the provision of sites which will meet the county’s needs.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “We are aware that a group of travellers have arrived near the A129 in Wickford. Our officers have visited them and we will be going to court to seek to serve a Direction to Leave notice. We expect them to move on in the coming days.”