Residents of a seaside town which has just six PCSOs now pay £100 each a year for a private security firm to patrol their streets
- AGS says it is paid £2-a-week by 300 of Frinton's 4,000 seaside residents
- Town has no police station and nearest one 8 miles away also set to close
- Security patrols all town's street between 7pm and 7am and has hotline
- Staff say they have thwarted crimes but call the police is serious cases
- Frinton has six PCSOs who travel to crimes on buses and bicycles
- Comes as two police forces in Britain prepare to use drones to fight crime
Hundreds of residents in a seaside town are paying a security firm more than £100-a-year to patrol their streets because of a lack of police.
Security company AGS drives around Frinton-on-Sea in Essex every night between 7pm and 7am and also has an emergency phoneline - although they call 999 if the situation is very serious.
Residents say they are paying AGS because because it has no police station or police officers and only six PCSOs who must travel around by bus or bike.
Filling a gap? Hundreds of Frinton residents are now paying security firm AGS to patrol their streets because of a lack of police
Area: Security company AGS aim to travel along every street in Frinton (pictured) while patrolling between 7pm and 7am every night
Critics including the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner fear a two-tier system commonly found in African countries such as South Africa is taking hold.
Frinton's police station closed 20 years ago and the town's nearest police station is in nearby Walton but it is set to be closed and sold by Essex Police in the latest wave of estate cuts.
The town, which has 4,000 residents, has six PCSOs and its nearest police station will be in Clacton-on-Sea, about eight miles away, where the crime rate is much higher.
Now security companies are filling the void critics are concerned it is a path to vigilantism and could be classed as a 'protection racket'.
Former soldier Stephen Beardsley is head of AGS and insists he and his staff are far from vigilantes and are only concerned with keeping people safe.
He said: 'We are like Ronseal. We do exactly what it says on the tin. We have no powers - no more than the average citizen's arrest - but for us, we are about being a deterrent.
'We want to make our presence felt to deter people from doing what they are going out to do.'
The firm's patrols are carried out by three men split between two vehicles looking just like police patrol cars.
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