An attempted hijack was foiled after a woman driver fought off a man using her mobile phone as a weapon.

The 32-year-old target was waiting at a set of traffic lights in Westcliff when a man got into her white Peugeot 106 through the passenger door. A vicious struggle followed in which the man tried to force the woman to drive while pulling on her hair.

But the quick-thinking woman slammed her mobile phone into the man's face and the startled attacker fled. Police said the incident happened in Crowstone Road at around 8.30pm on Easter Sunday.

The man was described as dark European, of medium build, aged between 30 and 35, with dark hair in an outgrown crop. He was unshaven and wore dark clothing.

A police spokesman said today: "The woman was not injured during the assault. She has told us that she thought the man was drunk as he smelt of alcohol."

The man ran off in the direction of Chalkwell Park.

Witnesses to the attack or anyone with information should contact PC Michael Woodford on 01702 471212.

Police are hunting a gang of girls who attacked a 15-year-old girl on Southend seafront.

The girl was left with minor injuries after being hit with an object while walking with friends on Western Esplanade, Southend.

It is believed there were nine girls in the attacking group.

The ringleader was white, slim, aged 16 to 17, 5ft 6ins tall, with long dark, straight hair and a local accent.

She was wearing a denim jacket and dark trousers.

Police said the assault happened at around 3.30pm on Tuesday, April 10.

PC Richard Warne from Southend police can be contacted on 01702 431212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 .

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