ABOUT 100 cars were keyed in Southchurch over the weekend.

Vehicles are being targeted throughout streets in the area, including Kensington Road, Victoria Road, Boscombe Road and Rutland Avenue. It’s now thought up to 300 have been damaged in the past two weeks.

Dane Sargeant, 55, of Riviera Drive, said: “This is no petty crime spree, I have seen instances reported where someone has had their car repaired and it’s been done again. I’m scared to have mine done until this has stopped.

“There is almost a mob mentality growing around here, there are residents who will take matters into their own hands eventually.

“I drove around after seeing my car and there were residents gathered discussing what was going on. The general feeling is there is too little visible police presence, especially after dark. It’s an absolute disgrace with what seems to be no control or even caring from the authorities.”

Southend Community Policing Team sergeant Tracey Butt said: “We are investigating after receiving 54 reports of damage being caused to vehicles in the Southchurch area of Southend since last Monday 29 July.

“We encourage anyone who has had their vehicle damaged recently to report it to us if you haven’t done so already, by calling 101 and quoting incident 454 of 4 August.

“This allows us to build up a comprehensive picture of the situation, investigate accordingly and take action. We understand that members of the community will want to be proactive in finding those responsible, but we ask that they don’t put themselves at risk and allow our officers, who are appropriately trained and equipped to investigate.

“In an emergency always dial 999.”

Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal ward, said he was aware of the spate of car crimes and added: “This is unacceptable and I would strongly urge anyone affected by this to report it to the police so that they have a full picture.”