A SENIOR Essex Police detective says the force will take “strong, visible action” to tackle a series of robberies and thefts committed by people on motorcycles or motor scooters in Basildon, Brentwood, Shenfield and Hutton.

Detectives believe the spate of incidents – including opportunist snatches of mobile phones in the street, theft of motor vehicles, criminal damage, making off without payment and even use of weapons to intimidate and threaten – may be linked to criminals operating out of London.

Det Chief Inspector Jason Hendy said: “The net is closing on the people responsible for these crimes and we’ll be using all the tools in our box to bring these criminals to justice.

“We believe these incidents may be linked to criminal groups in London and my officers are working with Metropolitan Police colleagues to share intelligence. My message to those gangs is to stay out of Essex because we are coming after you. We will take strong, visible action and are building the evidence and intelligence we need to take down the people committing these crimes once and for all.”

He added: “The people responsible for these incidents commit their crime and escape rapidly, so in addition to our police response I need the public to help me catch them. If you see one of these incidents take place please call us with whatever information you have, particularly if you have dash-cam footage.”

The incidents include on Thursday March 2 a woman had her phone snatched in Southernhay Close, Basildon at around 5pm.

On Monday, March 13 a 17-year-old, from Billericay, was using her phone when it was snatched in Hutton Road, Shenfield, at 3.30pm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Brentwood CID or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.