FURIOUS parents have slammed drug users for making a children’s park a no go zone.

Residents claim gangs of youths are using the children’s play area off Church Road, Benfleet as a drug haven with some using nitrous oxide and others more power drugs.

Parents found drug paraphernalia at the park including used balloons and cannisters and are calling for action to be taken.

One concerned mum, aged 35, said: “It is just disgusting they are doing this in the park.

“My children keep asking to go to the park and I feel we cannot as it is not safe to do so.

“There’s no reason why they should use the park to take drugs.

“They should think of the impact they are having, but it seems they are unaware of the fact families cannot use the space.”

Councillors have also raised serious concerns.

Steven Cole, Tory councillor for St George’s ward, said he is aware of the ongoing issues.

He said: “This whole area around the park is becoming a no go zone.

“I am more aware of issues at night.

“I think its terrible that parents can’t take their children to this play area became of drug users.

“I will be speaking with council officers to see what we can do to help the issue.

“This is a lovely children’s play area and it’s such a shame that it’s being spoilt like this.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Recently, we carried out targeted patrols in the Poors Lane area of Benfleet after concerns were raised and the situation has improved.

“It’s really important to report concerns and any information to us as we can’t act on incidents we don’t know about.

“One of Essex Police’s priorities is a more and visible presence. Castle Point and Rochford is getting an extra eight officers through the increase in our share of the 2018/19 council tax and Essex Police has committed to another 215 officers coming to the county through the increase in the 2019/20 precept.”

Anyone who spots illegal activity can call Essex Police on 101 or 999 if it is in an emergency situation.