A MOTHER has spoken of her horror after her 13-year-old son was robbed of his new bike during a gang attack.

It is the second similar incident in Southend High Street within a fortnight raising fears children are no longer safe in the town centre.

Samuel Eldridge was out riding his bike with some friends in Southend on Wednesday, January 2 when he was approached in the Victoria Shopping Centre by a group of youths.

The gang came up to Samuel and his friend, also riding a bike, and asked to have a ride.

They declined, and left to ride to the other end of High Street.

When outside the Royals Shopping Centre, the friends realised the gang had followed them.

Some members of the gang distracted Samuel’s friends, whilst two of them again asked to have a go.

When Samuel refused again, one of the youths said “there would be trouble” if he didn’t let him, and suggested he had a weapon in his pocket.

The youths then took the two bikes and did not return.

Samuel, 13, had been given the bike by mum Kerrie Eldridge for Christmas who had saved for months and spent £500 on it.

Ms Eldridge said: “He’s really shaken up by it, it’s absolutely horrible.

“Samuel is a keen bike rider, using it for events which he goes to around the country.

“He literally only got it before Christmas. I’m a student midwife so don’t have a lot of money, and he’s been so patient with me saving up to get it for him, and now it’s been taken within two weeks.

“He was quite scared when the gang approached him and his friend again. When he said ‘there would be trouble’ the man reached into his pocket, we think he was suggesting he had a weapon stored.

“As much as he loves the bike he knew it wasn’t worth getting attacked for it. When he let them use it they said they would take it for a spin, but he knew full well they weren’t coming back.”

Samuel, who lives in Pitsea, called the police and logged the theft immediately after the incident, which happened between 7pm and 7.30pm.

His mother added: “It’s staggering the attitude of some youths today, they just seem to have this brazen attitude where as soon as they put their eyes on something they will take it.

"Right before Christmas he was at a biking event in London called Knives Down Bikes Up, which was all about encouraging young people to turn away from violence and committing crimes and take up different activities and exercise.

“He was on such a high after, feeling very positive about it all, it’s just such a shame he’s now a victim of it.”

Just before Christmas three men grabbed, punched and robbed 15-year-olds outside The Royals Shopping Centre using similar threats.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We are investigating following a robbery in Southend.

"It was reported a 13 year-old boy was with a group of friends in Western Esplanade at around 7.45pm on January 2 when they were approached by a group of teenagers.

"One of the group threatened the boy who then handed over his black and green Voodoo Band 2 2016 bicycle."

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.