POLICE are increasing Southend town centre patrols following a spate of terrifying robberies – which culminated with a teenager being stabbed on Monday.

Officers are being drafted in from Boreham, near Chelmsford, to try to help tackle the growing problem.

They are targeting robbers who have been preying on youngsters for their mobile phones and bikes.

Former Southend inspector Leigh Norris, who now runs a new team in Boreham which came to Southend yesterday, said: “We’ve got uniformed officers and plain clothes officers, and marked vehicles flitting around the town centre.”

Police have now revealed how a 40-strong gang surrounded young victims in Eastwood Park at the weekend.

One petrified 17-year-old boy was beaten and kicked by the gang on Saturday night, and taken to hospital with cuts and bruises.

The same gang is believed to have targeted another 17-year-old boy that night, but he escaped unscathed after his bike was stolen.

In another robbery, an 11-year-old was chased across Priory Park by a thug who threatened to stab him.

He had been happily playing with his pals on Sunday afternoon, when he was singled out for his phone.

Then, on Monday, a teenager was repeatedly stabbed in broad daylight, near Southend Central railway station, for his phone and cash.

The Echo has issued appeals for 12 separate street robberies across Southend, Leigh and Westcliff since April 30.

The victims of robberies in Priory Park and Eastern Avenue both saw a red BMX bike.

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 101.