CRIME on Canvey has been at its highest level in a staggering six years - with possession of drugs becoming an increasing problem, statistics have revealed.

A UK Crime Stats report showed that 358 crimes were reported in July this year, the latest figures available.

The amount of crime had increased by 15 per cent on the 310 crimes reported from the month before.

The latest figures showed that acts of violence and possession of dangerous weapons had been at their highest this year.

The figure is the first time since 2011 that crime has totalled to more than 350 incidents in one month.

Alan Acott, town councillor for Canvey East, said: “It is a surprise, we had a lot of burglaries earlier in the year but from what I have been told it had gone down.” Burglaries in July had decreased to 19 incidents from when they were at their height in December when there were 58 incidents in the month.

However, the amount of drug possession was at one of its highest levels this year. There are normally less than eight incidents each month - sometimes even just one or two - but in July there were 13 reported.

Mr Acott said: “Drug use has commonly been the starting point for most crimes.

“People want money so they can survive so they move into robbery, anti social behaviour and violence.

“Canvey has quite a successful drug rehabilitation system and is something that could help reduce crime.” Peter Greigg, councillor for Canvey’s Winter Gardens was not surprised by the rise, criticising the lack of police presence that is on the island.

He said: “There are always problems here on the island.

“It usually is just anti social behaviour but there are other worse crimes happening. We suffer badly down here and it is because of the lack of police.”

Mr Greigg said that despite the rise in crime, people are happy living on Canvey.

He said: “I think people feel reasonably safe down here. Unfortunately we have had some incidents happen which make you stop and wonder and I do not think the penalties are harsh enough. To a lot of us and our members we can see there is not enough discipline.”