RESIDENTS in Wickford have clubbed together in an attempt to force County Hall into a streetlights U-turn.

Michael Love, 30, has had 1,700 people sign his online petition, demanding Essex County Council turn back on the lights in the town, after the majority of them were switched off between midnight and 5am.

His home in Keats Way was broken into just seven days before the blackout. He says he has been living in fear ever since.

Fellow resident Sandra Devine, of Harris Close, has also set up a petition.

She said Wickford was the poor relation compared to Basildon.

Six estates in Basildon and Pitsea have had their lights kept on after Basildon Council raised concerns residents’ lives could be at risk in high crime areas.

Mr Love said: “It’s certainly made me more fearful my house could be broken into again.

That’s why I decided to set up the petition.

“It’s not right and has left a lot of people vulnerable.

“Judging by the number of people who have signed my petition, residents are annoyed by it.”

County Hall will save about £222,000 a year by plunging Basildon into darkness.

Streetlights on major junctions and town centres have been kept turned on.

After negotiations, Basildon Council won a reprieve for Five Links, Felmores, Langdon Hills, Chalvedon, Pitsea 1/2/3, and Craylands estates.

But Ms Devine is upset lights have been turned off on the Wick estate, despite the area being riddled with alleyways.

She said: “Looking outside it’s not a little bit dark, it is pitch black. Talking to people here, a lot of residents are annoyed.

“Why have they turned all the lights off? Where is the common sense with that?

“I know family members who have to get up early to work in London and it’s concerning that my whole estate has its lights switched off.” Her petition is available to sign in the Tesco store, in Silva Island Way, Wickford.

People can sign Mr Love’s petition by going to