RESIDENTS have been urged to "remain vigilant" as a hunt is underway for a 'balaclava gang' following two south Essex stabbings

Here is everything we know on the three reportedly linked incidents on Canvey since Saturday evening. 

Essex Police were first called to Parklands, off Hilton Road, at around 10.55pm on Saturday, after a man suffered a stab wound to his leg.

This was after being approached by two males who demanded his wallet and phone.

The police later received a second report of another man being approached by two individuals demanding his money and phone near Short Road at around 11pm on Saturday.

The suspects produced a bat and a knife but left the scene when challenged by the victim.

At around 1am, on Monday, Essex Police were called to an area near Somnes Avenue, on Canvey, after reports of two suspects demanding a victim’s belongings before stabbing him in the leg.

All three of the victims reported being approached by two teenagers, both between 14 and 18, wearing balaclavas and tracksuits.

Essex Police say all three incidents described the two suspects similarly.

Ray Howard, a former long-standing Canvey councillor, said: “It really upsets me. One day, we have a royal visit down on Canvey enhancing the island, and now we have stabbings.

“It is really disappointing. It is a small minority causing all the problems and giving Canvey a bad name.

“We must try to catch and punish these people doing this disgraceful act.

“It is not the community I was born in and lived in all my life. When I was growing up on Canvey, 70 odd years ago, my mum and dad didn’t know what it was to even lock a door. There wasn’t this problem.”

Officers has urged anyone with any information or footage to come forward by quoting incident 1156 of December 2.

Det Insp Nick Brunton, of Castle Point and Rochford, added: “You may see an increased presence in the area across the coming days as officers conduct enquiries and reassure the community. If you have any concerns, or if you want to raise anything with our officers, please do approach them.

“We have been assisted in this investigation by our good links with the community in Canvey, and I would continue to call for anyone with information to come forward to assist us.

“I would urge residents in the area to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to us.”