A MUM has been forced to barricade herself and her child in their home in fear after catching a man smashing her car.

Emma Douglas, 51, of Cliffsea Grove, Leigh, was woken by a man attacker her car window with what is believed to have been a hammer.

The 51-year-old said: “I am feeling really nervous after what happened.

“I was awoken by my car alarm to witness a feral looking man smashing the window.

“I banged on my home window and he climbed onto his bike and rode nonchalantly up my street.

“The police arrived within 15 or 20 minutes.

“I had to drive my car to Basildon to pay for a new window, just after Christmas.

“Apparently, I was not the only car expected by the repairers that morning from Leigh with the same crime.”

She added: “I had it fixed through my insurance and had to pay about £60, but the repair cost was about £137.

“This might put my insurance premium up.”

The mum described the man as white, tall and “gaunt”.

He was also wearing a baseball cap.

“The man I saw was white, tall, thin and gaunt looking.

“He was wearing a baseball cap.”

She said she saw him leaning into the car before walking away from the scene.

She said nothing was taken from the car during the incident.

Ms Douglas added: “I am worried that he might come back. I have not been sleeping since the car break in.

“We are barricading ourselves in the building as I feel so vulnerable, my partner was away at the time.”

She said she has heard about a number other incidents in the Southend, Westcliff and Leigh area.

She said the community is furious and it feels like this is a spate and that she believes something needs to be done.

Another resident spoke on the spate of incidents in the area and echoed Ms Douglas’ concerns.

The father-of-two from Leigh, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It seems to be happening all the time now.

“People are so angry about it and [they] feel helpless, something needs to be done to stop this.”

He warned: “I think, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.”

The incident in Cliffsea Grove, Leigh, happened on Saturday.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We received these reports of criminal damage and an investigation is ongoing.”

He added: “Any information to come to us via 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/190431/18.”