A MOVE to make a fracking protest camp a national focus for campaigning against the controversial gas extraction technique has received a mixed reception from residents living nearby.

Some residents of Pickering and Kirby Misperton, where Third Energy has been given permission to frack, said they feared an influx of activists from outside the area could affect the area’s key tourism industry.

Growing numbers of protesters are believed to be occupying a field near Kirby Misperton, where Yorkshire and the North-East’s most visited paid-for attraction Flamingo Land is sited.

The protesters, who are planning to block lorries heading to the drilling site, are understood to have built toilet and kitchens for hundreds of people.

Lorraine Allanson, who runs a self-catering holiday cottages firm at Allerston, near Pickering, said professional campaigners at the camp “exhibit a blatant disregard for local residents”.

Ms Allanson added: “There now has to be a protracted legal process to remove these unwelcome itinerants.

“Their immoral behaviour has caused much distress for the villagers and locals. This ugly camp is now a threat to all tourist businesses in Ryedale.”

Pickering resident Eddie Thornton, of Pickering, said he welcomed protesters from outside the area. He said: “The system has failed us, and the people of Ryedale are left with no other option but to put our bodies between the industry and our land. And we hope others will join us.”