A TEEN courageously stood-up to a balaclava-clad thug who tried to rob him in a public park.

The 18-year-old was on his way home and walking through Halstead Public Gardens when he was confronted.

The victim's dad, who asked not to be named, said his son stopped to sit down on a park bench and tie his shoelace.

He looked up to see a man in dark coloured clothing with a balaclava over his face.

Halstead Gazette: Park - A Google Street View image of the Public GardensPark - A Google Street View image of the Public Gardens (Image: Google Maps)

The Halstead dad said the masked man asked his son what was in his bag before the son replied “crisps”.

He said: “The male said I don’t want your crisps, I want your phone.

“My son said you aren’t having it and stood up.

“Thankfully, he is 6ft 3in and towered over the balaclava-wearing lad. My son said you either move or my foot is going up your ar**.

“The young lad said some rude words and told him, ‘I don’t want to see your face in here again’.”

After the altercation, the son saw the aggressor walking back to his group of friends in the park.

Once he got home and informed his parents, the incident was reported online.

Later that evening, in an email seen by the Halstead Gazette, Essex police said there were "no further investigation opportunities at this time".

Halstead Gazette: Suspicious - An illustrative photo of a man wearing a balaclavaSuspicious - An illustrative photo of a man wearing a balaclava (Image: Pixabay)

The father fears it might not be a one-off incident and other potential victims will not be able to defend themselves as his son did.

He said: “I have mixed emotions. I’m proud of him standing up for himself, but in this day and age you don’t know what you could encounter.

“I worry for the younger teens. There will be kids not as confident to challenge them and will give over their phone, out of fear of being attacked.

“Everyone who lives in the town has the right to frequent the town safely without the threat of any harm or any risk.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We received an online report of an allegation of attempted theft said to have taken place between 4.30pm and 4.45pm on Monday  January 29, 2024.

"The victim reported he refused to hand over any of his property after a man reported to be wearing a balaclava approached him in Trinity Street, Halstead, and demanded he hand over his phone.

"Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call 101 and quote crime reference 42/15534/24."