HUNDREDS of laughing gas canisters were dumped just metres from a war memorial as anti-social behaviour continues to plague Wickford.

Yobs left more than 300 nitrous oxide canisters – known as laughing gas – scattered across the car park next to the Wickford war memorial in Runwell memorial park.

This comes after youths were seen throwing rocks off a Wickford bridge and shooting a catapult at birds, killing six pigeons, in the past couple of weeks.

Volunteers cleared up the mess, which also included fast food wrappers and several bottles of alcohol.

Duncan English, who spent more than an hour on Monday evening removing the rubbish, has called for a gate be installed at the car park.

He said: “It’s shocking behaviour, it really is. It’s appalling that this has been left like this. It was all over the car park.

“You can’t stoop any lower. I was livid when I found it.

“There were 15 empty boxes, with each having 24 cartridges inside each. The police and council need to get a grip on it.

“The CCTV doesn’t point towards the car park. Police made an arrest last week and it look like they are carrying out more patrols.”

Mr English, part of the Wickford Wombles group, has contacted David Harrison, Wickford councillor in charge of the neighbourhoods and public spaces committee, in an attempt to solve the situation.

Mr Harrison declined to comment when contacted by the Echo.

Kerry Smith, deputy leader of Basildon Council, added: “A lack of education is the primary cause behind this. We never used to even hold a cigarette when walking past memorials. That message really needs to be rammed home.

“Those who fell will only have been a couple of weeks older than these people who did this. That is appalling. They fell for our freedom.

“A gate would be great but we have a limited budget. We have lost a lot of income.

“CCTV does need to be in the most vulnerable areas too.”