VANDALS have targeted boats in Shoebury causing more than £1,000 of damage.

Yobs smashed windows on three boats being kept on land at Shoebury East Beach on Friday night.

They targeted two more boats on Sunday evening, breaking into the boats and scattering owners’ belongings.

More than 40 boats are kept on East Beach each winter where they are repaired and maintained before being returned to the water for the summer.

Mike Sharp chairman of the Shoebury Watermen’s Association was among those whose boats were damaged.

He said: “We believe it was vandals because nothing was taken. Fishing knives and tools were pulled out and thrown around but nothing was missing.

“We’ve heard there is a group of kids going round Shoebury causing mayhem so it could be them.”

Mr Sharp, 59, from Thorpe Bay, added: “There aren’t many houses here but there is a holiday camp site and someone there heard banging at about 9.15pm on Friday.

“This is the second year running we’ve been hit. We had this a few years ago and the council helped us and we thought that would be the end of it but it looks like they’re back.

“They have done a lot of damage. Boats can be an expensive hobby and it’s not as if we are all well of. People join the club so we can all muck in together.”

Boat owners reported the first incident to police separately and are in the process of reporting the Sunday attacks.

Shoebury Independent councillor Ann Chalk said: “We have had a lot of reports of young people, teenagers causing trouble.

“It has been mostly the High Street area near the Shoeburyness Hotel. A bike store was broken into there. We’ve had more problems since we stopped having PCSOs”

A police spokesman confirmed the first report.

He said: “We received reports that a fishing boat had been vandalised in Shoeburyness, between 6pm on Friday, March 9, and 8.30am on Saturday, March 10. Damage costing a two-figure sum was caused to two rear windows.

Anyone with information is asked to contact us on 101, quoting 42/33638/18. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.