Police bosses have urged residents to collect evidence on antisocial youths - and not to take the law into their own hands as anger mounts against trouble-making yobs.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst chaired a public meeting with Castle Point and Rochford District Commander, Chief Insp Glen Westley, to address crime concerns in the area.

Residents from Canvey were quick to speak up about antisocial behaviour by teenagers as a leading concern.

The community seemed at its wit’s end with the increasing number of incidents and suggested they feel like taking it into their own hands.

Chief Insp Glen Westley advised residents to follow and film offenders if they witnessed crimes being committed and urged residents to share information with police if they knew who the offenders were.

He told the public that 14 youngsters have now been identified - and are being dealt with.

He added: “We are not just trying to move kids on. They are now subject to follow ups and behaviour assessments. It will take time for us to get to them all.”

After sharing her experience of watching some youths slap an elderly woman in the face, one resident, Brenda Morton, said: “If one of them comes at me or my family, I am going to throttle them.

“Someone is going to end up taking the law into their own hands and who is going to get the blame? These kids are feral.”

Former councillor Colin Letchford, 70, was recently pelted with stones when dressed as Santa at the Canvey Christmas parade.

He added: “Antisocial behaviour in the high street and other parts of Canvey is rife.

“Before much longer, there is going to be a nasty incident where someone is going to get hurt.

“I am concerned that you are saying you will respond to antisocial behaviour but we need someone to prevent it.”

Other residents probed the commissioner about their rights when conducting a citizens’ arrest.

Roger Hirst said: “I would never recommend vigilantism. Do not take the law into your own hands.

“Anyone has the right to carry out a citizens’ arrest if you are able to do it without taking personal risks but it must be proportionate.”

Speaking after, Mr Hirst said the meeting was “useful” and was encouraged by the engagement.

He added: “We need to make sure we get a plan together outlining how we are going to deal with that. Clearly, Glen is on top of that and his officers are tackling it robustly.” Canvey councillors have a meeting planned for the New Year.