Drug users, squatters and arsonists are making life hell for residents on a Colchester street.

The conservation area known as Doe's Mill, at East Bay, has been the scene of a number of fires and has attracted squatters and drug users.

Now neighbours are demanding Colchester Council takes action to make the owner of the properties transform the area.

The buildings, which are off East Street, have planning permission to be converted into retirement apartments.

Neighbour Neil Holden claimed: "The area known as Doe's Mill is now a Mecca for squatters, drug addicts, arsonists, vandals. It is full of drug needles, human excrement, rubbish, squalor, graffiti."

Mr Holden said the properties were next to the national cycle route and "should be a showcase for Colchester".

He added: "Police visit daily. The site is dangerous and an appalling eyesore. A disgrace to the town."

Colchester Council is now preparing to serve a legal notice to the developer to secure the site to prevent people from gaining access to the buildings.