Crime figures provided by the police cannot be trusted, according to the councillor responsible for community safety.

Last week The Guardian reported that Epping Forest and Brentwood have seen the highest number of burglaries in Essex in the last 12 months.

The figures were provided by the police and the article included an interview with Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Fusher.

But Cllr Gary Waller, the district council’s Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder, questioned the veracity of the data and said council figures, which contradict police figures, paint a more accurate picture.

He told a meeting of full council that Epping Forest was in fact ranked 8th out of 14 in Essex for burglary.

However, he did not provide figures, give a timescale, or reveal how he had reached his conclusion.

When questioned over the figures, he told The Guardian they are based on population size and came from a council employed analyst who was reviewing Home Office statistics.

He said: "Out of 14 districts in Essex, Epping Forest is 8th, that is based on population.

"If one takes account of the relative population figures there are far fewer houses to burgle than in Brentwood."

Essex Police figures show in the last 12 months there have been 1026 burglaries in Epping Forest and Brentwood in the last year - more than anywhere else in Essex.

Mr Waller continued: "I think the [police] figures are not necessarily the ones which we should rely on.

"One has to take account of the relative populations. I gave the figures for 2013.

"Epping Forest has been pretty bad in terms of the rate of detection.

"We come pretty low down compared to other districts."

The councillor said he was keen to highlight the work done by the council’s Safer Communities team and to reassure residents that the district is safe.

"We have the fastest fall of any district when it comes to burglary", He added.