TWO schoolboys were attacked by a man on their way to school in the morning.

The incident in Basildon saw the man approach the pair from behind and snatch one of the boys’ school bags.

He shook the school bag around in what appeared to be an attempt to empty it, before trying to punch the other boy.

The thug, thought to be in his 30s, then left the scene casually, pushing a bike along, while the terrified teenagers ran into their school – Woodlands School, Basildon, which they were less than minutes away from.

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: “We are investigating an incident in Woodland Approach, Basildon last Friday at about 8.10am.

“Two boys were approached by a man described to be in his 30s of medium build, bald, and wearing a red jumper and dark jeans.

“The man grabbed one of their bags and shook it. He also attempted to punch the other boy. He was seen walking away pushing along a white bike.

“Anyone with information is asked to call us on 101, quoting crime reference 42/179069/19 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Several parents shared their disappointment on social media that the school didn’t contact them about what had happened.

However David Wright, headteacher at Woodlands School, said parents were informed as soon as possible.

He said: “Within ten minutes of being told of the incident a member of the senior leadership team followed the person until they were well away from the school and our pupils.

“The parents were contacted and advised of the situation and call was also made to the police.”

Councillor Kerry Smith, deputy leader of Basildon Council, also expressed his concerns.

He said: “Because of the cuts from 2010 to 2018 our streets have become that little bit more lawless.

“I hope we can get more police on the streets as quickly as humanly possible as we need that police presence.

“We want to make sure all kids feel safe enough to walk to school rather the parents having to run them to school.

“Basildon Council is approving £6,500 of funding to purchase more crime prevention kits, like personal alarms, which in partnership with safer communities have been so successful.

“If anyone would like a personal alarm please contact your ward councillor.”