NEIGHBOURS chased off a gang of men who were trying to steal letters from mailboxes outside their homes as part a suspected scam.

Hadleigh residents are being urged to be on their guard after men were spotted taking letters from boxes outside homes in Arcadian Gardens and Commonhall Lane.

It is thought the men may have been trying to obtain credit and bank cards sent out to customers. After the group was spotted, some residents gave chase and one man followed the group down to Rayleigh Weir, before he lost them.

Local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Rosemary Smith, who lives in Arcadian Gardens, said: “Someone had seen a man dipping into their mailbox on Wednesday.

“The following night, these individuals were seen going up and down the road again. Four people along the road spotted what they were doing and they ended out getting chased down the road.

“Another neighbour jumped in his car and followed them down to Rayleigh Weir. We really want people to be aware of this, because we don’t believe it’s just in this road, or just in Hadleigh, as there have been some down Common Hall Lane.”

A police spokesman said they had been contacted just after noon on January 15 by a resident in Arcadian Gardens.

“She was reporting a man had purportedly stolen letters from her mailbox earlier that day. The next day, the resident noticed three men checking the mailbox again, but there were no items inside which could be removed.

Officers attended and took a statement from her.”

The men were all said to be black and in their twenties.

One was wearing a white puffa-style jacket, with dark jeans and a royal blue rucksack.

Another was wearing a grey suit, a white shirt and pink tie while the third was wearing a red Tshirt, a black jacket and dark grey trousers.

Anyone with any information about the gang is asked to contact PC Robert Chapman, at Rayleigh police station, on 101.