CALLS have been made to secure playing fields near a cemetery after travellers set up camp for the second time.

Council bosses served the group with a notice to leave after they arrived at Pleasington playing fields in Blackburn.

Yesterday, four caravans, one motorhome and two people carriers could be seen near the entrance of Pleasington Cemetery as children played close by.

The group, thought to have arrived on Monday evening, set up tables and chairs, hung out washing and left children’s toys strewn across the field.

It was the second time in three years travellers have trespassed on the playing fields.

In July 2014 six caravans moved onto the cricket pitch after travellers claimed they had been given permission for a short stay.

Councillors denied this and moved them on two days later.

Residents and community leaders yesterday slammed the travellers for 'disrespecting the dead' and said it was shocking they were still able to get on to the land.

Pensioner Marion Whalley saw the travellers as she visited her parents' grave.

The 71-year-old said: “I drove through the playing fields about 6.20pm on Monday and saw four caravans and a motorhome.

“Children were playing around and people were sitting outside of their caravans eating.

"This did not give me the impression that they were about to move off anytime soon.

"It's so disrespectful. We are talking about a cemetery here, there are funeral cars going past and these people are living there.

"If the council don't move them along now when will they?

"Even if the council put bollards up to keep them out, they will probably just pull the down the fence and go round anyway.

"It does need securing though."

Police said they had received complaints about the travellers who had settled in Pleasington after being moved on from Witton Park.

Dad-of-three Adam Brown, 24, walks on the playing fields daily.

He said: "It's pretty disgusting having travellers around a cemetery and playing fields. When they leave they will just discard their rubbish.

"I've seen them urinate on the footpath, not even in the bushes, it's just disgusting.

"I came down yesterday and two of the kids were driving round in a car, the driver was only about six.

"Something needs doing about it, they need moving along."

The land the travellers have chosen has been set aside to allow for overspill car parking at large Muslim funerals.

Pleasington Tory councillor John Pearson said: "The law is very long-winded and the travellers have rights which must be observed.

"I understand why people are upset, especially those who have come there for comfort.

"The only way to deter them is to put barriers up and stop them getting in.

"If the council have to keep doing it in different places it all mounts up.

"The area they are on has been set aside to allow for excess cars at Muslim funerals.

"So if we were to have one tomorrow while the travellers are still there we would have a real problem.

"The are disrespecting the dead and the bereaved by being there."

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said: “Steps have been taken to serve formal notice for the removal of the travellers at Pleasington.

“This will give the occupants 24 hours’ notice to leave.

"Thereafter we will immediately apply to court for an order for possession if they have not complied.

“We will be liaising with the police who have powers to move travellers on in prescribed circumstances such as causing damage to land.”

A police spokeswoman said: “We have been made aware that they have moved from Witton Park onto the Pleasington playing field.”

The travellers refused to comment when approached by the Lancashire Telegraph.