WITNESSES to knife crime in south Essex can now claim £1,000 for bringing criminals to justice.

Crimestoppers has launched a campaign to encourage residents in Basildon and Southend, as well as Clacton, to help identify thugs who carry weapons if they feel unable to go to the police directly.

If the information they supply leads to a successful arrest and charge they could claim up to £1,000 as a reward.

Det Insp Russ Cole said: “Knife crime levels are low predominantly in Essex but there has been an increase in some areas including Basildon, Southend and Tendring which are the focus of this campaign.

“There have been several high profile and tragic knife crime incidents in Essex over the past few years, which is why I fully support any campaign that seeks to save lives.

“We appreciate that not everyone is comfortable in contacting police about crime.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure that people living, working and visiting Essex have an avenue to give information if they wish”.

Ann Scott of Crimestoppers said those who came forward with information about a knife crime or on anyone who regularly carries a knife would not be identified and informers are never asked for their name.

Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org