A RESIDENT has set up a crimefighting web community after being burgled because he says the police are too overstretched to deal with it.

Terry Coppins, 28, set up the Rayleigh Protection Group on Facebook after catching two hooded men on CCTV stealing £2,000 worth of equipment from his garden shed.

The break-in followed two other burglaries in the area last week.

The page is now followed by more than 900 people and Mr Coppins says it has already contributed to the naming of a man wanted in connection a stolen iPad.

He said: “I set this up on Saturday and every day it’s getting bigger.

We’ve had lots of messages with information about things going on in Rayleigh.

“The main reason behind it is the police are overstretched at the moment. They’re doing their best, but it took them 24 hours to come to my house after I reported the burglary.

I’ve got a pregnant girlfriend and was worried the thieves would come back and try the house.

“So we’re going to start policing our own streets, not as vigilantes, but in the sense that if we see something, we are going to report it on the page and people can check it out and look out for each other.”

Mr Coppins’ shed in Hatfield Road, Rayleigh, was broken into at 8pm on Thursday.

The culprits were caught on CCTV which Mr Coppins put up after his neighbour warned him she had lost £6,000 worth of possessions in a burglary.

Two hooded men can be seen on the footage making their way into his back garden via a back alley and broke the lock to his shed with what appeared to be a pair of bolt cutters.

They then took a hedge trimmer and pole trimmer worth about £1,500 as well as bags of rope worth about £500 before being disturbed by the alarm. They were then seen by a neighbour running towards a white van parked nearby.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.