THREE people were robbed by hammer-wielding thugs and a man was stabbed by two teens in one night on Canvey.

The string of crimes happened within hours of each other overnight on Friday, forcing the police to carry out extra patrols for the rest of the weekend.

Essex Police say they are treating the two robberies as linked due to them taking place less than an hour apart.

It was reported man and a woman were approached by three men near to the Morrisons in Link Road at around 1.45am.

The men, who were all described as wearing hooded tops with the hoods up and had their faces covered, reportedly had a hammer and a knife and stole a bag. It is not believed anyone was injured.

Then, at around 2.15am, a man in his 20s was walking along Harvest Road, at the junction with Farm Road, with another man when they were followed by three men.

He reported one of the men then struck him over the head and stole a tens of pounds in cash and some tobacco.

The man has been described as white, 5ft 10ins, in his early 20s, dressed in black with a ski mask covering his face.

Essex Police are keen to speak to the victims of the first robbery and have urged them to come forward.

The stabbing took place in Southwalters Road near the Canvey Dyke on the island at around 3am.

It was reported a man was approached by two people, believed to be teenage boys, and had his phone stolen.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "When the victim, a man in his 30s, attempted to get it back he was stabbed in the leg and kicked to the head.

"We do not believe this incident is linked to two reported robberies in Link Road and Harvest Road earlier on the same night

"Due to the location of the robberies, the details of those involved and the times they took place we believe they are linked."

Residents shared their horror at the news.

Leon Johnson, 31, said: "Unfortunately this is getting to be the new norm. We read the news updates and it takes little to surprise us anymore.

"I'm glad police stepped up patrols but it is really getting out of hand."

Maurice Betley, 60, said: "I fear for the next generation when they have people like this walking the streets. It's abhorrent."

Anyone with information about the robberies should call 101 quoting incidents 118 or 155 of June 15, and quote reference number 42/93954/19 for the stabbing, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.