A MASKED gang of five thugs robbed a man on the street in a late-night attack.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was walking down York Road, Southend, with a friend.

A gang of teenage boys and men, all wearing balaclavas, got out of a small silver car and approached the pair as they walked down the road.

The victim was assaulted and has his phone, money and cigarettes stolen.

The extent of his injuries are not known at this time, but it is understood the friend was uninjured

The group have been described as three teenage boys and two men who were slightly older and of mixed race.

After the attack, which took place at about 10.50pm on Sunday, the gang fled down York Road towards Southchurch Hall Park.

All of the group were wearing balaclavas and black tracksuit trousers.

Essex Police have launched an appeal to trace the gang responsible and are urging any members of the public to get in touch with information.

The incident has unsettled the community.

Chris Ellard, 32, who lives in Victoria Road, said: “I used to cut through the park and head down York Road to get into town but now it’s just not safe.

“It’s well-known you just don’t walk that way when it’s dark because it has become a no-go area.

“We need extra CCTV or lighting or something to make it more difficult for criminals do things like this.”

Another woman, who has asked not to be named but lives in York Road, said: “Sadly, I’m not surprised by this - we always get incidents like this down here.

“I hope the lad makes a full recovery.”

If you saw anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage or have any other information which could help, call Essex Police on 101 quoting incident 1353 of September 15.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.