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Pictured: Tonnes of rubbish dumped by travellers in front of picturesque parish church leaving residents devastated

Mirror logo Mirror 28/04/2017 James Hore

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Residents have been left in tears after travellers dumped tonnes of rubbish in front of a picturesque parish church.

The shocking scene unfolded in Laindon, Essex, with more than 100 metres of household waste left at the illegal site before the convoy of caravans departed.

Amongst the thousands of items left lying on the grass are the stripped-out interior of a car, including its seats, and cups and sauces from a pensioner's house clearance - even including a leaflet for the the WI.

The waste has all been dumped in an area of greenbelt land near to St Nicholas Church which was built in the 13th century.

And with the travellers who fly-tipped the rubbish now long-gone it will be left to taxpayers, through Basildon Council, to pick up the costs of the clear-up, likely to run into thousands of pounds.

A team of specialist cleaning officers employed by the authority were at the site today removing human waste from hedgerows.

Police officers were also at the scene trying to find evidence amongst the rubbish which could help secure a prosecution.

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Stunned residents were so shocked they were taking pictures of the mess.

One woman fumed: “It makes me so angry to see what they’ve done.

“I was in tears last night looking at it. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

“Sorry to say it, but these people are scumbags. They really are.

“I just hope someone can find enough evidence to track them down but I’d guess no-one will ever be prosecuted as they’re long gone”.

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Laws governing fly-tipping mean householders who employed the travellers to work for them could be the ones who find themselves in court for not using a company with a suitable licence.

Andrew Barnes, a councillor for Laindon, said: “It is disgusting that it has been left in that state.

“I understand that travellers have a culture to travel but there is no excuse for leaving it like this.

“I would say [to the perpetrators] you have done a great deal of damage to our community and undermined the relationship between yourselves and our residents.

“To leave somewhere in that state is going to upset residents – myself included.”

Ambulance driver Bartholemew Simpson, of Laindon, said: “The council needs to take down their registration numbers, go down there and treat them like they would treat anyone else who has fly-tipped.

“But it’s as if everybody is frightened of them.”

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Gary Edwards, head of street scene and leisure services for Basildon Council, said: “The amount of waste left behind in St Nicholas Lane, totalling between 30 and 40 tonnes, is among the worst fly-tipping incidents we have known in the borough.

“Fly-tipping is an environmental crime and dumping on this scale will take significant time and resources to clear.

“Basildon Council officers have already been on site this morning to clear human waste from the site.

“Officers will return to the site tomorrow, assisted by contractors, to remove the bulk of the fly-tipped waste from the land.

“The operation to clear the site is likely to cost between £6,000 and £7,000 of public money, which the council would far rather be spending on other things.

“Residents have already rightly expressed their outrage and we will explore all legal avenues in order to take appropriate steps against the perpetrators.”

The council said the gates to the area were locked every night, so it is thought the travellers had to break a lock when they initially got onto the site last week.

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Earlier this year, a group were moved on from St Nicholas Mews, opposite the land where the latest group of families pitched up.

The previous group also left behind a lot of rubbish - including nappies and excrement - which taxpayers were forced to pay to clear up as the land is owned by the council.

The latest encampment started with just four caravans a week ago.

A total of 11 touring caravans then moved onto land in St Nicholas Lane, Laindon on Friday morning.

That number swelled to more than 20 caravans and other vehicles before bailiffs acting on behalf of Basildon Council evicted them yesterday.

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Some travellers were spotted using a wrench to release water from a nearby hydrant to shower themselves in the street.

One resident said: "We live right opposite the site where they have pitched up.

"It is pretty frustrating as we thought the council had resolved the problem when they put a fence up where the travellers had originally been.

"My partner and I were out walking when we spotted two caravans pulling into the field via the gate.

"I don't know whether they forced their way into the field or if maybe the council had left the gate open by mistake when they cut the grass over there, but since then the site seems to have grown.”

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