POLICE say they are taking the complaints of residents seriously amid a crackdown on anti-social behaviour following reports that a village has become a hotbed for dogging.

Residents in Bradwell were left red-faced and furious as many aired their complaints at a parish council meeting this week.

Many raised concerns that the village is having its reputation dragged through the mud due to numerous daylight dogging incidents.

Dogging, which means to have sex in public while being watched, is not illegal but can be if another person sees the act and takes offence.

In the meeting, residents mentioned they feared what their children might see and that a group of over 70s pensioners were also propositioned to participate.

The incidents are reported to have made many of the village's beauty spots no-go areas due to dogging.

According to reports, it is believed much of the anti-social behaviour that had been concentrated on a layby on the A120 has now moved to areas around the church in Bradwell.

Essex Police attended the parish council meeting to hear the concerns of Bradwell's enraged residents.

Now Essex Police has said it is taking the issue of anti-social behaviour in Bradwell seriously and aims to crackdown on activities in the area while increasing patrols.

Police are now working with Braintree Council's Street Scene Enforcement Team and said the parish council are now looking at making physical changes to the area.

Residents are also being urged to report concerns on anti-social behaviour.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We have increased our patrols in Bradwell following complaints about antisocial behaviour.

"It follows various reports of activity on land near to Holy Trinity Church and officers from the Braintree Community Policing Team have been patrolling the area.

"We are also working closely with partners such as Braintree District Council’s Street Scene Enforcement Team and the parish council to ensure information is passed freely between all organisations on the issue.

"It is the responsibility of the police service to protect and uphold the human rights of all its citizens and ensure our policing responses are legal, necessary, accountable and proportionate."

Chief Inspector Colin Cox added: “We’ve been carrying out our patrols to try and deter antisocial behaviour in this area.

"We understand some of the behaviour being reported to us can cause alarm and distress among the community and I can assure you we are taking it seriously and we are including the area in our patrols, both during the day and at night.”