JOYRIDERS caused havoc after burgling a woman’s home, stealing her car, crashing it, then leaving it burned out on a path.
Neighbours in Elizabeth Way, Laindon, were woken by the sound of screeching tyres and a loud bang, as the stolen Toyota Aygo careered into a parked car.
The crooks then sped off and abandoned the car nearby in Albert Way, setting it alight only yards away from homes.
The chaos started with a burglary at a house in Whitmore Way, Basildon, near to the junction with Church Road.
The 30-year-old female householder awoke at about 4am on Tuesday to the sound of creaking boards on the landing outside her bedroom.
She went out in to the hall in time to see two men running out of her home. The woman ran to the window and saw the pair speeding off towards Felmores in her car.
Police arrived and searched the area, using dogs, while other officers searched the A127 for the car.
At about 5.30am the stolen blue Toyota crashed into a Ford Focus parked in Elizabeth Way, then sped off.
It was discovered burned out on a footpath between Laindon Link and Albert Road less than 45 minutes later. The Focus owner, who did not want to be named, said: “We were woken at 5.30am by the screeching of tires and a loud bang.
“They’d smashed in to my car and it had mounted the kerb, causing extensive damage. To be honest, we think it’s a write-off.
“A short time later, we heard a car alarm in Albert Road, where the car had been burned out.”
One Albert Road resident said he was woken by the sound of the Aygo bursting into flames.
He said: “We were in bed and heard a car alarm go off, so we looked out to check if it was ours. We came out and the car had gone up in flames and the fire brigade was just arriving.
“This road is a dead-end and it is usually a quiet area. It’s quite shocking, really.”
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Basildon police, on 101, or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.