Police and bailiffs moved in this afternoon to forcibly evict around 20 travellers' vehicles from the Belhus Park site, after 70 caravans ‘invaded’ the site on Friday.

Thurrock District Commander Leigh Norris and two police units and a bailiff van were at the site this afternoon to tell the remaining 20 caravans to leave.

Most caravans left over the weekend and police have not yet confirmed if this was due to a police eviction, or on what grounds the travellers were removed.

The caravans arrived at the Belhus Park site on Friday after being moved on from Lakeside Sports Ground.

Video 1: Police units and bailiffs confront the travellers

Staff at Impulse Leisure Centre reported incidents on Friday including locks cut, three steel fences being removed and mounds of earth dug, all of which gave clearer access to the site.

Belhus Park Golf Club staff also reported vandalism committed at the golf club over the weekend, with one shed’s lock broken and damage to turf on the greens.

Games and other sporting events over the weekend were also cancelled by the traveller incursion.

Local businesses have spoken of the financial costs of eviction from previous traveller incursions at the Belhus Park site, including £2,500 for a previous 'incursion' of three caravans.

Police on the scene today refused to comment but a statement released earlier by Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “If there is evidence that criminal offences, such as criminal damage, were committed when travellers moved onto the land at Lakeside and Belhus Park then that evidence must be gathered by police and incidents should be investigated.

“I will be asking Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh for a briefing on these events, including any communication between the Metropolitan Police Service and Essex Police prior to the arrival of the travellers in Thurrock.”

Thurrock Council also called on the police today to take more action.

Councillor Jane Pothecary, in charge of public protection, said she’ll be writing to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and Essex Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh asking for assurances that their two forces communicated and co-operated during Friday’s operation.

She said: “I will also be asking Mr Kavanagh why they used their powers to move the travellers on from the Lakeside site, but did not do so at Belhus Park – it was the same people and the same issues, surely it should have been the same actions?

“There are other issues we need to look at as well. When the travellers were removed from Lakeside, were they followed to Belhus; why were they not prevented from accessing either site; and what powers do the police have to prevent these incursions, for example.”