Flats in Colchester which were built six months ago but never occupied have been left to go to rack and ruin, it has been claimed.

Around 20 flats in Groves Close, off Mile End Road, have been unoccupied since they were bought by Flagship Housing Group, which is in negotiations with Colne Housing Society to sell them.

But while talks are ongoing, the new homes have been targeted by vandals, who are believed to have smashed windows with ballbearing guns, damaged doors, daubed walls with graffiti and left the surrounding area strewn with rubbish.

Myland Parish Council member, Martin Goss, said he wanted to see the homes occupied as soon as possible and kept in a decent state until then.

"I am very frustrated that these properties have been let to go to rack and ruin since they have been built," he said.

Andrea Smith, senior partnership manager at Flagship Housing Group, said: "These properties have been unoccupied for some months due to some legal complications in their transfer to a local housing society, but the sale process is progressing towards imminent completion.

"It is a sad reality that empty properties do attract vandalism but our contractors are in the process of rectifying the damage prior to transfer."

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