ROBBERS have been targeting schoolboys on trains after pretending to befriend them.

Detectives have released CCTV images of two people they believe are behind the attacks.

They believe they have carried out at least two robberies on the c2c line between Southend and London Fenchurch Street.

But they are also investigating to see if there could be links to any similar crimes.

Det Con Michael Bute, of British Transport Police, said: “The robberies are of a very similar nature.

“They engage the victims but are not overt or in your face it. They befriend them and then literally demand property, and there’s a threat or an implied threat there.”

The first involved a boy in his teens who was onboard a train at Basildon when he was approached by two men.

One of them put a hand in his pocket to imply that he was armed. They threatened him into handing over his Blackberry phone, before fleeing via Upminster station at about 3pm on October 25. T

Then two boys, aged 15 and 16, were approached at East Tilbury and threatened into handing over £40 cash and some Dr Dre headphones. Police believe there are definite links between the two robberies.

Police suspect the culprits have strong links to the Southend area, and may well live in the town. Anyone with information should call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40