TERRIFIED neighbours told how they have set up their own WhatsApp group to alert eachother about suspicious activity amid a spate of burglaries.

Families living in Potash Road, Billericay, fear that thieves are scoping out their homes. Some houses in the street have already been broken into.

The Echo told yesterday how burglary rates in the borough have doubled to an average of six a day because of troublesome teen gangs.

A mum-of-two, 43, had her Potash Road home broke into last month after thieves climbed over the conservatory roof and into the house through an open window. They stole watches, handbags and a collection of jewellery items.

The mum, who did not want to be named, said: “I don’t know whether I came home and disturbed them. I didn’t notice anything was wrong at first.

“It was only when I went upstairs that I noticed everything had been ransacked. It was awful, everything was all over the floor.

“We had the forensic team around who found footprints on the conservatory roof.

“A lot of the neighbours are quite upset by it, they feel like they are sitting ducks and they could be next.”

Neighbour Sarah Farrell, a mum-of-three, said: “You expect a level of break-ins anywhere, but this feels like a bit sinister. It feels like the road is being deliberately targeted.

“I feel like I can’t open the windows in case I forget to close them when I go out. It just feels like I am being watched.”

She told the Echo three of her neighbours have been targeted in the space of a fortnight.

Sarah Barrett, 47, also of Potash Road, said: “We are trying to look out for one another. We have set up a WhatsApp group to let people know what is going on, like when we hear an alarm going off at somebody’s house.

“You can’t live in fear, you have got to try and get on with your life.

“My biggest fear is that you will wake up with somebody standing in your bedroom.”

Anyone with information about the burglaries can call Essex Police on 101, or independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Alternatively, visit crimestoppers-uk.org