POLICE chiefs have met local authorities to draw up a plan of action following the arrival of a large number of gipsies.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has a executed a possession order from Teesside County Court to get rid of remaining caravans at a site in South Bank, near Middlesbrough. A notice was served on Monday on travellers, who left for wasteland at nearby Warrenby.

"When they left South Bank, they identified Warrenby as somewhere they would like to go," a council spokesman said.

"It was closed to them but we allowed them to use it as a place of safety.

"But they have abused our hospitality by letting other people on the site, which was something they were expressly asked not to do."

The spokesman said: "We had a court order to remove the travellers from the site last year because of the same problems then, so we just re-enacted it.

"The council will secure the site and assess and any damage that may have been caused.

"We are now looking at ways to secure all the vulnerable sites to prevent them being used, but we anticipate large numbers will return for a funeral."

The gipsies who caused the disruption were believed to be on Teesside in preparation for Stockton man Patrick Lowther's funeral.

He is thought to have died of pneumonia while in police custody, after being arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Supt Dee Collins of Cleveland Police said: "Work is ongoing to ensure that residents, business and visitors within Teesside experience minimal disruption.

"While negotiations with local authorities are ongoing in terms of the best way forward, police are maintaining regular checks on the traveller sites to curtail and risk of crime or anti-social behaviour."