TEENAGERS have been targeted in a series of knifepoint robberies, with thugs threatening them before making off with their bikes.

The alarming trend comes after a 14-year-old girl was threatened with a knife while at Mopsies Park, Chittock Gate, Basildon, with her friends.

The group was approached by a teenage boy at about 5.45pm on Thursday who threatened them before making off with a young girl’s bike.

Police are also investigating a second robbery which took place in Great Knightleys, Basildon, the previous evening - shortly before 8pm.

Officers were called to the scene with reports of a group of teenagers being approached by another group, some of whom threatened the teens before stealing a bike.

The Essex Police team then carried out a search of the area and were able to recover the bike.

During the search, officers arrested a man on suspicion of possession of a bladed article. However the arrest is not believed to be linked to the robbery.

Kerry Smith, deputy leader of Basildon Council, said: “It’s very unfair to those who are out with their friends causing no harm and enjoying themselves. These criminals are opportunists - light or dark they will steal them.

“A lot of the time they steal bikes to try and sell them on for cash, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for them where you can.

“It’s important we all remain vigilant when we’re out and about and always use common routes that are well known, preferably with lots of people around if possible.”

He added: “People most definitely should get their bikes marked, whether that’s visiting the police website for online services to do this, or using the council’s free kits. It could increase the chances police have to try and track them down.

“When you are buying a bike, get it from someone or somewhere that is reputable, personal alarms are also a good idea. If anybody wants a council kit please get in contact with me and I’ll see that it gets delivered.”

A spokesperson from Essex Police, said: “We are investigating a robbery which took place in Great Knightleys, Basildon shortly before 8pm on July 29. If you have any information about the incident please call us on 101 quoting incident 1128 of July 29.”

If you have any information about the incident at Mopsies Park, call 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/114647/20. Contact Mr Smith by emailing Kerry.Smith@members.