A public meeting will be held to discuss residents' concerns about the increase of anti-social behaviour in Witham.

Witham Town Mayor JoAnn Williams, proposed the meeting, and has arranged for District Commander Craig Carrington of Essex Police to be in attendance.

Special officers from Essex Police have been conducting high visibility patrols in the town in recent weeks after a rise in incidents of criminal damage, burglaries and assaults, leaving some residents feeling unsafe.

Businesses had a chance to brief the authorities on their concerns at a crime summit meeting last week.

At the meeting, MP Priti Patel called for a zero tolerance approach to tackling crime in the town.

She said: "Witham is a great place to live and work. It is in all our interests to make sure that our town is a safe place and the recent wave of crime and anti-social behaviour is worrying.

"Many residents and businesses have been subject to appalling crime, including burglary and thuggish behaviour which has intimidated my constituents and made people feel unsafe.

"This behaviour is not acceptable and we need to see robust action taken to address this issue, a zero-tolerance approach to apprehend offenders and have a more visible police presence in the town."

At the meeting, police outlined a number of measures they will be taking to try and tackle the problem, including the increased special officer patrols in the town.

Ms Patel said: "The increased patrols are welcome and will reassure residents and businesses.

"The police have rightly emphasised that every crime and anti-social behaviour issue must be reported via the Essex Police website www.essex.police.uk or the 101 number.

"We will be holding further meetings on police and crime issues including a public meeting, and I will continue to liaise with them to secure action to protect families and businesses.”

The public meeting, which is open to all residents of Witham and the surrounding areas, will take place at Spring Lodge Community Centre, Witham, on Monday, April 23, from 7pm to 9pm.