CLACTON MP Giles Watling has called for more funding for the police to help tackle illegal traveller encampments across Tendring.

Tendring Council said it has been forced into play a “cat-and-mouse” game with travellers that costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

Housing bosses have been to court to remove travellers from public land – often only for the same group to pitch up on another site nearby.

Mr Watling has called for the police to use their enforcement powers more often – and for the 2 per cent cap on increases to the police’s portion of the council tax bill to be scrapped to pay for more resources.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Watling said the rural district was “vulnerable” to illegal encampments.

“We are a coastal resort and have regular incursions, especially during the summer and over bank holiday weekends,” he said.

“All people in Clacton want is fairness under the law.

“While I am open to conversations about changing or tightening the law, the starting point must be giving the current law the opportunity to function at its peak potential and thus scrapping the precept cap and increasing policing capacity to tackle the illegal encampment.”

“My local residents would not get away with illegal developments, and neither must anyone else - it is one law, and we must all be equal under it.”

Mr Watling said Essex Police’s council tax precept is very low and that he did not think residents would begrudge an extra £10 a year to increase the police’s capacity to “act swiftly and decisively on issues such as illegal sites and other criminal activities”.

He highlighted incursions by caravans this summer on public land next to the Columbine Centre in Walton and at the Vista Road recreation ground in Clacton.

“We had to clean up for both and it was very expensive,” he added.

Mr Watling said he wanted the police to have the resources to use their ‘section 61 powers’ to move on travellers straight away if criminal damage or public safety is an issue - or if more than six vehicles form the encampment – rather than councils being forced to drag travellers through the courts to evict them.

The Government intends to call for evidence to review the way in which existing police powers are enforced.

Frinton and Walton mayor Robert Bucke had called for council bosses to seek a High Court injunction against travellers after human excrement was left next to the Columbine Centre after travellers left the site.

The injunction to ban travellers from public sites, similar to that awarded to Harlow earlier this year. Anyone in breach of the injunction can face a fine or prison.