A GROUP of travellers have left Canvey following a weekend of chaos.

Police moved the travellers on at about 5pm and were seen following the caravans off the island and down Canvey Way.

The group then descended on the Toby Carvery, on the A127, Westcliff, where they soon began throwing food around and causing havoc.

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Island Independent Party said: "I'm delighted they have finally gone. The police just got called out so many times I think they finally had enough and forced them out.

"I will be able to sleep at night now. I'm happy because I thought it was going to tke another week to get  rid of them, but the problem is we've just moved them on. I feel sorry for the poor people who have got to put up with this now.

"They have left so much mess behind it's going to take a whole gang of is to sort the field out. It's beggars belief how they can get away with this."

Mr Blackwell earlier said Canvey had been turned into a "war zone" after a series of brawls broke out between groups of travellers.

A member of the public reported seeing a man brandishing a gun on Eastern Esplanade yesterday afternoon.

The police helicopter was dispatched and six police cars rushed to the scene.

Stop checks were carried out in the area but no weapon was found and no arrests were made.

The fight prompted officers to maintain a huge prescence on the island last night.

Mr Blackwell said: “It’s like Canvey is on lockdown, it’s like being in prison.

“The police have been out in force, it must have cost them a fortune to have that much presence on the island.”

Staff at The Oysterfleet were forced to call police at 7.20pm yesterday after fearing a fight involving 30 travellers was about to kick off.

Popular pubs including the Admiral Jellicoe, on the High Street and Bar Monico, on Eastern Esplanade, remained open but officers were seen manning the doors.

Movie Starr Cinema, on the seafront, took the decision to close early.

Today it is only open to customers who have pre-booked tickets online.

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, urged Essex County Council to keep the streetlights on to ease residents concerns.

This was agreed, but technical difficulties meant much of the island remained in darkness overnight.

Up to 17 caravans pitched up at Labworth Park on Thursday night.

Castle Point Council vowed to take legal action to move the travellers on, and was hoping to secure a County Court order to take possession of the land again.