Five hundred caravans have descended on a Seaham park for a four-day gypsy church convention.
Light and Life Gypsy Church, a national religious organisation which is aimed at travellers, arrived at Seaham Hall Farm yesterday evening.
At the height of the convention, there are expected to be 2,000 people at the park, with gospel being preached.
Jackie Boyd, one of the leaders of the organisation, said: “We’re a church organisation which primarily reaches gypsies and travellers, but not only them.
“We have 33 churches within the UK and reach 52 countries.
“This is our national convention, and we hold it every year in a different place. We put a big marquee up.
“We held our first meeting this morning, and got permission from the landowner to be here.
“A lot of people visit for the day as well, and at its height there should be about 2,000 people there.
“We’re a Christian organisation, a registered charity. We don’t break any laws.
“You can’t put 500 caravans somewhere without having the proper permission.”