CCTV is urgently needed along alleyways in Old Leigh as they have become hotspots for trouble, insist residents.

Worried business owners are calling on council bosses to ramp up the amount of CCTV to help deter criminal activity after 18-year-old Luke Bellfield was stabbed to death on Friday evening.

Sara Welton, who owns Sara’s Tea Gardens, which is situated near the alleyway where Luke’s murder took place, said cameras are essential.

She said: “This alleyway is a no go.

“They have to do something about it. I have customers come in saying They’re obviously doing drug deals down there. It needs to be zoned off.

“It’s an ideal spot for anything. We need far more CCTV. It will help businesses and help police if there are any incidents.

“It will give residents and businesses more reassurance.”

Ron Sverdloff said he’s not aware of any cameras “where it matters” - only private ones belonging to pubs.

He added: “Last summer when things were getting out of hand, there were groups of youngsters parked under the flyover with their drugs.

“Of course they can [get away with it]. Nobody monitors it and nobody gets down there.”

Leader of the Council Ian Gilbert said: “Although our council CCTV network is one of the most comprehensive in the region and monitored at all times, it does not currently extend into Old Leigh and that is why improvements are being made with plans in place to install three CCTV cameras in the Old Town area, and two in and around Leigh Library Gardens.

“This is in addition to three cameras that were recently installed in Leigh Broadway and Leigh Road.

“It’s something that’s being actively looked at. We’re aware improvements need to be made.”

Cabinet member for Community Safety, Martin Terry, said: “We need more policing on the ground. It’s absolutely vital because we don’t manage operation policing. All we can do is ask and request that they support us with adequate policing.

Chief Inspector Ian Hughes, Southend District Commander, said: “We are working closely with partner agencies such as Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and community safety officers and often we will share intelligence on key individuals. Working with our partners is key to moving forward in terms of our prevention strategy, which is aimed at helping any young people who may be vulnerable to becoming involved in crime and serious violence.”