COMMUNITY crime-busting groups are set to be cut in number in a move described as an “own goal”.

Twelve neighbourhood action panels (NAPs) in the Colchester borough will be reduced to seven from April as Colchester Council and Essex Police try to better use resources.

Existing groups will be merged with each new NAP covering one of the council’s zones, but some panel chairmen have spoken out against the changes.

Reverend Martin Pierce, chairman of the St Andrew’s and St Anne’s NAP which would merge with Wivenhoe under the changes, said the proposal was a council "own goal"