VILLAGERS have been left with a major clean-up operation after travellers finally left their illegal camp on a recreation ground.

The group abandoned the field at Weeley when bailiffs moved in with tow-trucks to evict them on Wednesday afternoon.

Parish council vice-chairman Carol Bannister said more than 50 travellers had moved onto the side after the first ones arrived on July 12.

She said the children's play area was damaged and young trees pulled down.

Enforcement officers served each caravan with eviction orders at 2.20pm on Wednesday. Bailiffs moved in at about 5.45pm.

Mrs Bannister said: “We have decided that due to contamination and damage there will be no option but to close the field and Spinney temporarily until the area is assessed and dealt with by specialists.”

Mrs Bannister said she was yelled at by travellers when she tried to check the trees before they left.

The parish council is now counting the cost of the clean-up. “It’s definitely hundreds but it could be thousands of pounds,” said Mrs Bannister. Barriers could now be put up to prevent caravans getting onto the field.