Terrorised homeowners are resorting to vigilante action in an attempt to stamp out hooliganism, it has been revealed.

Community leaders have called for urgent talks with police after reports some residents in Billericay are taking to the streets to hunt down troublemakers.

Gangs of youngsters have been roaming neighbourhoods in the town, with some local people reporting a spate of egg throwing incidents.

But instead of phoning police, angry residents are tackling youngsters head-on.

Phil Turner a Conservative councillor for Billericay West, said he had been shocked at the reports and has called on the police to deal with the problem.

Now councillors in Billericay are set to meet with police chiefs in the hope of quelling mounting youth problems. They want assurances police will more regularly patrol nuisance hotspots.

PC Kevin Hopton, from Billericay's community policing team, stressed vigilante action was not the way forward.

He said: "I can understand people get agitated, but to go out and try and sort out the problem on their own is a prime way of getting themselves into trouble."

PC Hopton said the force took the matter of youth problems very seriously and would deal with complaints from residents.

Published Thursday, March 21, 2002