COLCHESTER MP Will Quince has said more must be done to tackle knife crime following reports of a spate of “shocking” robberies in the town.

Mr Quince has issued the call for action to address the issue of knife-related crime in his constituency following several terrifying incidents.

Essex Police recently released details of a knifepoint robbery in St Peter’s Street, Colchester, in June, where a man was shoved against a fence by thugs wielding a blade.

The gang of four attackers snatched a wallet containing cash and cards.

Last Monday, at 7pm, a member of staff at a Co-op, in Harwich Road, was held at knifepoint while money was taken from the till.

The shop has been targeted by thieves on a number of occasions in 2013 and 2014.

In the early hours of Monday morning a burglar crept into a woman’s home while she slept and tied her up, before threatening her with a knife.

A debit card was stolen in the raid, in Avon Way, Colchester, and a large amount of cash was later withdrawn.

Mr Quince said: “These incidents are absolutely shocking and exactly the sort of incident no-one wants to see anywhere in the country.

“We do have an issue with knife crime in Colchester.

"I have raised it in Parliament before.

“Sadly so much of it seems to be drug-related, robberies to fund drug abuse.

“It has tended to be gang on gang incidents in the past, but what concer ns me about these latest incidents in Colchester is there are assaults on members of the public, even in their own homes.

“I had a meeting on Friday afternoon with councillor Mike Lilley to talk about safety in Colchester and exactly how we are going to be tackling these issues.”

“I think there is a mixture of things we need to do to tackle knife crime, more does need to be done.

"The first is education, we have to do far more in schools to teach children about the dangers of knives, get these great charities like Only Cowards Carry into schools to talk first hand about the impact of carrying knives.

“We should be increasing the number of stop and searches and I am a big fan of the idea of tougher sentences to deter people from carrying knives.”

Mr Quince dismissed calls for increased police numbers and resources, arguing an intelligence-led approach is “in many ways more effective.”

“We have got to be guided by the police on this issue,” he said.

“The police budget has been protected since 2015.

“Policing has become very different, it tends to be intelligence-led rather than bobbies on the beat.

“In many ways this tends to be more effective.

“Of course I will listen to and be guided by the police, but it is far too easy to say it is just down to resources .”

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor responsible for community safety, said: “We must address the lack of police numbers in Colchester.

“I strongly believe a cut to the number of police officers on our streets has led to a rise in crime and specifically to a rise in knife crime as well.

“People who go out carrying a knife should be locked up.

“This should have been addressed in Parliament - bring in tougher, longer sentences for people who have gone out with a knife.

“That weapon is only there for one purpose and that is to take someone’s life away.

“Using a knife should mean life.”

“I am really concerned with the rise in crime in Colchester, the number of incidents that are going unreported, that haven’t been investigated, show that the police do not have enough officers.

“We only have ten police constables for the borough.

“The officers and the community policing team work hard and are fantastic, but it just is not working.”