YOBS have gone on a window smashing spree across Leigh and Westcliff.

Furious residents have woken up to the mindless vandalism which has been continuing on roads and driveways throughout the festive period.

Insp Ian Hughes said: “We are aware of an increase in cars being broken into in the Southend district and items being stolen from inside.

“Many of the vehicles which have been targeted have been parked on the street rather in driveways which has reduced our opportunities for CCTV.

“In response, we have deployed PCSOs to sweep the areas where these incidents have taken place, conducting house-to-house enquiries and dropping leaflets providing crime prevention advice and seeing if there are any businesses or homes which have CCTV available.

“We also have crime scene investigators (CSIs) contacting victims of these incidents to see if they can carry out glass samples.”

The Echo reported last week Emma Douglas, of Cliffsea Grove, Leigh, was woken by a man attacking her car window with what is believed to have been a hammer on December 29.

Reports on social media suggest more than 20 cars were targeted by the crooks over the festive period, with several happening on New Year’s Eve.

One of those was Barbara McDowell, of Sunningdale Avenue, who has been forced to pay £150 to repair the damage to her car.

She said: “I know I’m not the only one that this has happened to, and unfortunately not the last.

“There appears to be an epidemic of this in the Leigh and Westcliff area and having spoken to my local postman, he and his colleagues have spotted at least a dozen of these crimes in the last few days.

“It was pointless in my case as they didn’t even take anything.

Call 101 with information about any of the incidents and visit https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/vehicle-security/