COLCHESTER residents say they are so worried for their safety, street lights must be turned back on.

In November, 70 per cent of street lights across the borough were switched off by Essex County Council between midnight and 5am to save £130,000 a year.

But after two knife murders in three months, residents say they need reassurance in darkness.

Two petitions have been set up calling on Essex Highways chief Rodney Bass to put the lights back on.

Rev Martin Pierce, of Greenstead Evangelical Free Church, in Magnolia Drive, said: “People need reassurance.

“The perpetrator or perpetrators are still out there and anything that will add to people’s security must be done.”

He added: “There is certainly a sense of shock in Greenstead still.

“It has been very noticeable in the evenings.

“The weather has been good and usually, there would be people around, but there aren’t and the people who are out seem to have a very specific reason, whether it’s going to the shop or to a friend’s house.

“I think what the county council needs to remember is it could literally be anyone next.”