Southend: Protesters Leave Church

28 February 2012, 10:06 | Updated: 29 February 2012, 14:53

A group of protesters who have spent the last ten days campaigning outside a church in Southend have now left the site.

Occupy Southend left St Mary's Church in Prittlewell at 8pm last night (Tuesday February 28th). 

In a statement on their website they wrote: "We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the people of Southend who have turned out in their hundreds to support us over the last ten days. 

"We'll be setting up a new camp in the town very shortly. 

"After leaving the site tonight we dropped in at the Vicarage and gave Father Shaun a letter notifying him of our earlier departure from the site at St. Mary's Church. 

"The letter read as follows: 'Dear Father Shaun, following the decision of the Occupy Southend meeting on Saturday 25th February, 2012 at the Occupy Southend camp, we hereby give notice that we have vacated the churchyard grounds at St. Mary's Church, Prittlewell at 8pm, on this the 28th February, 2012'. 

"As a chapter ends so a new one begins." 

At its peak last week, the group consisted of 10 small and two large communal tents but they were scaled back following a funeral at the church.

Last weekend the group was told to leave by Sunday afternoon and were threatened with legal action if they decided to stay. 

A solicitors' letter to the group said: "Your occupation of the consecrated burial ground is both unlawful and inappropriate.

"The relevant documentation is being prepared and finalised in order that formal court proceedings may be commenced, as soon as possible, to recover possession of the consecrated churchyard.''