Brazen crooks walked into a High Street hotel in broad daylight and began stealing wine before threatening the owner when he tried to stop them.

Police are investigating after co-owner David Garrett took to social media to express his frustration.

He said: “Two men just robbed the Royal in broad daylight, then one tried it on with me in the car park.

“Any information please contact me.”

He was able to get the bottles back claiming the desperate thieves then attempted to hide nearby.

The theft led to a show of community spirit with neighbouring businesses offering to keep an eye out and residents sharing the information in an attempt to help the police catch the culprits.

Ellie Sullivan said: “I hope they are caught.”

Jules Wright said: “I hope you are ok, and I have shared this too.”

Eddie Farooq said: “I hope you’re alright.

“If you need me, I’m here.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were called shortly before 4.30pm on Wednesday, August 29 with reports a case of wine had been stolen from the Royal Hotel in High Street, Southend.

“Enquiries are ongoing.

“Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call the Southend local policing team on 101 quoting reference 42/125105/18.”

Concerns were raised about the behaviour but there was also praise for those who tried to help and stop incidents like this from happening in the future.

Tory councillor Jonathan Gartson, representing Milton, said: “Obviously any incident like this is concerning.

“We pride ourselves at Southend Council for our work with other agencies and organisations to make the town centre a safer place.

“We think that should give residents some assurance.

“I do of course hope that those involved have not been too badly affected by this.

“We are due to see more police on our streets.” An extra 150 officers are due to join Essex Police although numbers will still be down by hundreds.