A TEAM of street rangers will be unleashed in Southend's High Street to crack down on crime and antisocial behaviour.

The introduction of the team of three is one of the first initiatives of the Business Improvement District (BID), a traders-backed scheme which will bring a raft of improvements, financed by the shopkeepers themselves.

Traders voted on becoming a BID last November, and it will officially come into being on April 1, with businesses paying an extra 1.5 per cent on their rates to raise £2.7m over the next five years to be spent on the town.

The first wave of improvements will see three rangers in blue coloured uniforms patrolling the High Street from May, and they are likely to have the same powers as security guards in the Royals shopping centre as well as performing meet and greet duties for tourists.

Dawn Jeakings, who will chair a board of four members at the BID, said: “They will be the fountain of all knowledge of Southend but we also hope they will help crack down on crime by having good links with the police to report incidents.