A group of gipsies who moved on to parkland next to a historic abbey have now set up camp in the car park of the local council offices.

The travellers had been served with notice to leave Abbey Park, in the shadow of Pershore Abbey, in Pershore, Worcestershire, by 4pm yesterday.

They moved on Tuesday night but are now on a public car park within yards of the headquarters of Wychavon District Council, which is also based in the town.

Ian Marshall, Wychavon's head of legal and support services, welcomed the move from Abbey Park, which is due to hold celebrations next week commemorating the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

But he said their current encampment has inconvenienced both council workers and local people.

He explained: "It's created difficulties for staff and we've had blood donor sessions at the centre which attracted a lot of members of the public. They've been inconvenienced."

Mr Marshall said because the group of up to ten families had ignored a legal notice to leave the car park, further action would be taken at Worcester County Court in the next week to recover possession of the land.

He added: "I think this is a ploy to try to get the council to relent and let them back on to the Eckington site.

"I have conferred with the council's managing director and senior councillors and we are not prepared to do that."

The travellers are in dispute with the council after moving on to the land at Eckington, near Bredon Hill, on the fringes of the Cotswolds, last May Bank Holiday weekend.

They bought the land but the local authority immediately served them with an injunction to prevent any work being carried out and ordered them off the site.

A planning inquiry last October found in favour of the council that the site was unsuitable for development.

One of the group, Mark Birmingham, aged 36, vowed the families would stay on the car park for "as long as it takes". "We're here to make a protest. At the end of the day, we've said all along that all we want to do is live on our own land until the outcome of the appeal."