INNOVATIVE mobile technology has featured on a documentary after helping Essex Police apprehend violent robbers within minutes.

David Osborne had been out celebrating a lucky day at the bookies with his brother after winning about £1,300 when he was attacked by a trio of thugs who knocked him unconscious.

Using a live feed of council CCTV footage on their mobile phones, police officers in Southend had been watching the gang, who were waiting for David in the Seaways car park.

Because of this relatively new technology, the officers were able to arrive on the scene while the robbery was in progress and the three men were detained within minutes.

On Monday, the incident featured on the BBC documentary Caught Red Handed to showcase how the technology assisted the officers with the arrest.

Describing the incident, David told the BBC: "I don't know what they hit me with. It might have been a punch but I just remember going all dizzy.

"It was scary - your worst nightmare. I thought I was going to die - there was three of them and I didn't know what was going to happen.

"While one of them was pinning me down, another was going through my pockets. I'm trying to fight them off but it was just overpowering. There was nothing I could do."

Donamichie Scarlett, 23, Akiff Ali, 20, and Ervin Balliu, 20, all admitted robbery and Balliu was additionally charged with carrying an offensive weapon after officers found a lock-knife in his waistband when he was arrested.

Scarlett and Ali were jailed for three years and four months while Balliu was sentenced to three years for robbery and an additional six months for carrying a knife.

David, a construction worker from Southend, said: "Thank god they have that technology because I probably wouldn't be here now. Watching it - it's horrible and absolutely shocking. I didn't stand a chance."

Det Ch Insp Neil Pudney, Southend's District Commander, commended the technology and the officers, adding: "The introduction of this technology has changed things completely for the officers because they are now able to access information live while they are out on patrol.

"It really was a skilled, trained eye - the officers saw something might be going on and it was a bit of a sixth sense.

"We were able to get there within seconds and actually solve a crime we might not have been able to solve a few years ago so a real game-changer in terms of policing."