ESSEX Police have stepped up patrols around a set of empty office blocks in Colchester due to complaints over antisocial behaviour.

Residents say the four empty blocks at the Riverside Office Centre, in North Station Road, are becoming a hotbed for antisocial behaviour, litter and drug-taking.

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell, who lives nearby, has taken their case to Colchester Council to demand action from the buildings' private owners.

Essex Police have also been made aware of the community's concerns and say they will be stepping up patrols and targeting incidents in the area.

A spokesman said: "We are aware of concerns of anti-social behaviour at this location and we are working with the council to address the issue.

"We understand antisocial behaviour has a detrimental impact on the quality of life of residents and businesses, and the wider community.

"We are increasing our patrols in the area and will be listening to the concerns of the those affected.

"Anyone who has information about incidents of anti-social behaviour can report them to us by calling us on 101 or, in an emergency, call 999."

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Colchester Council said it is contacting the owners of the building to request they clean and secure the site.

Convivia Construction Limited has applied for prior approval to change the use of part of the Riverside Office Centre to 93 apartments.