“MINDLESS” youths have been vandalising people’s cars in a Basildon neighbourhood.

Essex Police’s Basildon unit has launched an appeal to trace the gang of youths following a string of crimes.

A spokesman for the team said: “Over recent nights there has been a spate of youth nuisance whereby damage has been caused to vehicles in Maplestead, Danbury Down and surrounding areas off Whitmore Way, Basildon.

“CCTV in the area shows a group of youths mindlessly causing damage.

“Operation Brave has been set up to tackle such incidents involving any nuisance youth issues and patrols will continue in Whitmore Way and the surrounding areas.”

Residents have blasted the youths.

Barry Hoad wrote on Facebook: “If courts started making vandals pay for the damage they do, instead of giving fines, they might just think before they cause damage.

“If it is caused by kids, their parents should be made to bear the cost. Sadly some kids are like feral animals, and have no regard for anyone.”

Elle Dix, who lives in the area, said: “Our wind mirrors have been forced back four times now - must have been these guys.”

Simon Clark wrote: “It’s probably the same group of teens I see nearly every night cutting through from craylands to the jolly.

“They like to brag to each other about what cars they are going to do later.”

Anyone with any information about the youths’ identities should call police on 101 or contact via email on the Basildon CPT website at www.essex.police.uk.

People can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

People can also report crime anonymously online by visiting the charity’s website crimestoppers-uk.org.