A GANG of hooded thugs carried out three vicious street robberies in less than half an hour.

Victims were beaten, robbed and in one incident a man was frog-marched to a cash machine and ordered to withdraw cash.

They were also threatened with knuckledusters.

Basildon detectives are linking the incidents, which happened in the Pitsea area between midnight and 12.30am on Saturday and appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

The robbers lay in wait for their first victim in the underpass at Southmayne in Pitsea before punching him in the back of the head, and stealing his mobile phone, earphones and wallet worth about £500.

The gang of five men then frog-marched their terrified victim to a cash machine at Pitsea market and demanding he withdraw cash.

The man, aged 26 and from Pitsea, told them he did not have any money and managed to escape to Tesco Extra where a security guard telephoned the police.

At about 12.10am the gang of five jumped two brothers, aged 19 and 20, as they were walking in Southmayne.

Members of the gang demanded one brother hand over his money before punching him to the side of the head.

He fell to the ground and they searched his pockets and snatched his mobile phone.

In the meantime other members of the gang pushed his brother against the wall and shoved a gas canister into his face, and demanded he hand over his wallet and mobile phone.

They then punched him in the head and fled without getting anything from him.

The final attack was on a 17-year-old boy outside The Barge Inn in High Road, Vange between 12.15am and 12.30am.

The gang of four punched the victim in the head.

He ran away but they chased him, caught him up and then punched him in the head.

They rifled through his pockets and stole his mobile phone.

Officers from Basildon Police traced a car seen in connection with the final robbery and arrested four men.

However they were released without charge.

Detectives are appealing for anyone with further information about the incidents to contact them at Basildon Police Station on 101.