A town council says it is doing everything possible to move on travellers who set up camp on a sports playing field.
About seven caravans moved on to the land on Lowhills Road, Peterlee, which is owned by Peterlee Town Council, on Tuesday.
They are tearing up the landPeterlee deputy mayor Stephen Miles
It is used by children and adults to play local league football games on a weekend.
The town council says it has started legal action to remove the travellers.
Councillor Andrew Watson, of Peterlee Town Council, said: “We are dealing with it as a matter of urgency.
“It is a difficult situation, but the town council has begun the legal process to remove them and we hope this will be sooner rather than later.
“The land is owned by the town council and is therefore classed as private land.”
Coun Watson praised council staff for responding to the invasion quickly.
He added: “The field is used by children and adults to play football.”
Peterlee deputy mayor, Councillor Stephen Miles, fears the damage the caravans may cause to the field which has just been reseeded by the council.
Coun Miles said: “They are tearing up the land.
“It cost the council thousands of pounds to put the grass seed on ready for next season.
“They just don’t care.”