Drug dealing in Witham is out of control and is putting lives at risk, it is claimed.

A resident living in the Hatfield Estate area of the town has demanded the authorities do more to tackle the problem, which he believes has deteriorated to the point that “lives are at risk”.

The resident, who the Times agreed not to name, said: “We’ve had groups of youngsters openly dealing drugs on this estate in broad daylight. Homes have been burgled and we even heard gunshots go off round here a few months ago. It was terrifying.

“One of my neighbours said ‘Don’t challenge them because you’ll end up having a brick thrown through your window’. It’s pretty frightening living around here at the moment.”

The resident says the situation has become so bad he is now planning to move away.

He added: “I moved to Witham from London to get away from all of this. I’m actually thinking of moving house because it has become so bad.

“If you ask me it has gone beyond shocking. There’s a bit more than cannabis being passed around out there.

“It’s not acceptable to live in fear like we are. It’s not acceptable for these drug dealers just to come here and do what they want. It’s out of control and needs to be stopped. People are scared to talk about it but I’m not.

“People’s lives are at stake here so what is being done about it? The police don’t have the numbers to deal with it. Where is our MP? Why isn’t she looking into it and listening to the residents?”

A spokesman for Essex Police said officers patrolling the Hatfield Estate had not been made aware of regular drug problems and anti-social behaviour.

They are calling on residents to report any suspicious activity immediately.

A spokesman added: “We can’t tackle issues we don’t know about. It’s really important any issues or crimes are reported to us so we can build a picture of what’s going on in different areas so we can deploy our resources appropriately. If you have any information about the sale of drugs we need you to call us on 101.”

Priti Patel’s office was contacted for comment.