The travellers arrived at Garon Park, in Eastern Avenue, just days before the park hosts Cancer Research UK’s 5K Race for Life, where 2,000 women are expected to take part.
The Echo went down to the park to ask the travellers whether they would be moving on before the big event, which organisers were hurriedly having to re-route. However, our reporter was held hostage and told he would be attacked if he tried to leave. The travellers also demanded we deleted our pictures and only released him when the police turned up.
Our reporter, who we are not naming, said: “They said if I walked away they would run after me and attack me.”Threats to assault & kidnap? I wonder what the police did…
Southend’s top police officer, Ch Insp Simon Anslow, said officers had spoken to the travellers.
He said: “We were aware of the potential for the travellers to disrupt the Race for Life and were down at the scene on Wednesday night to make them aware of the impact they would have.
“The response to our officers was very positive, with them saying they wouldn’t want to disrupt the race and that they would leave that evening. The site is not council owned property, so we have been in discussion with a different landowner who needs to serve notice on them to leave.”Ah. Right. Of course. Nothing.
Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for public protection said: “This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable. “This is not council land, so it is a civil matter. But I would have expected a robust response from police over the way the reporter was treated.”Ha ha ha ha ha!
Oh, wait. You’re not joking?