A SPATE of robberies, some of which were at knifepoint, has prompted the community to call for more police patrols.

In the past ten days, the Echo has reported a number of incidents – all of which have been in the vicinity of train stations – where people have been robbed by gangs.

The first incident was on Monday, January 28, when a woman was robbed by two men armed with a hammer on the footbridge near Southend East station.

Then, on Monday February 4, there were three incidents reported in the space of an hour each at Southend East, Thorpe Bay and Shoebury station.

The man robbed near Shoebury was threatened with a knife.

Most recently was the armed mugging of a man in Ambleside Drive on Wednesday in broad daylight.

The incidents have caused concern in the community.

Jo Daniel, who uses Southend East to commute, said: “I’m one of the many who commute daily - something has to stop the scum who feel it’s okay to rob and harm at will.

“If we aren’t safe just trying to get to and from work, something is very wrong.

“I’ve already stopped walking to and from the station and now rely on lifts.”

Thorpe ward councillor Martin Terry said: “This is outrageous. At the moment there is no deterrent as there are no police on the streets.

“People with criminal minds are more likely to commit crimes as they feel there’s less chance of being caught. We are not going to get enough police under the current system and anyone who believes it is wrong.

“The only way we will get enough police is if we get our own borough police force back. The way Essex Police is deploying resources is not enough for Southend. We have higher crime rates than other areas and we contribute more in money but don’t get enough back.”

Southend Labour councillor Matt Dent is calling on the police and the council to do more.

He added: “I cannot see how it’s possible to deny there’s a serious problem in the town and in this location in particular.

“Issues of lighting and CCTV around the station need to be investigated but the simple truth is that there aren’t enough police officers.

“Nine years of cuts have left our police force stretched to breaking point. Residents know it and so do criminals who are emboldened as a result.”