TAXPAYERS are “living in fear” from burglaries and on the verge of taking the law into their own hands, a council leader has warned.

Cllr Jas Athwal, Labour leader of Redbridge Council, documented homeowners’ worries in a letter to Amber Rudd, Conservative Home Secretary.

A study of insurance claims conducted by last year found that the IG4 postcode between Redbridge and Gants Hill had the worst burglary rates in the UK over five years.

A total of 55 homes out of every 1,000 in the Redbridge and Gants Hill area reported break-ins, while neighbouring Hainault and Goodmayes were joint third in the list of burglary hotpspots.

The council leader cited a meeting in Clayhall last weekend which saw more than 250 people met to discuss how they would tackle burglaries.

Cllr Athwal said: “If you looked in their eyes you would have seen the frustration, anger but most importantly, the sheer fear they are experiencing."

The Labour council leader warns Ms Rudd that police cannot currently deal with the burglary epidemic which could see fed-up communities resort to vigilantism.

He said: “What is clear is police do not have adequate resources to deal with this crime epidemic and I fear that residents are on the verge of taking action into their own hands. which I am sure you would agree is not something that generally ends well.

“Therefore, I plead with you to reverse the funding cuts that have been experienced by the police.”

Since 2010, around £1billion has been slashed from The Met’s budget, with £400 million pounds’ worth of cuts still to come on top of £600 million already cut.

A Home Office spokeswoman said crime is down by 40 per cent since 2010.

They added: “ We have set out a comprehensive settlement to strengthen local and national policing, which will mean police funding will increase by up to £450 million next year.

"The Metropolitan Police will receive more than £2.5 billion in funding and also has £240 million of reserves.”

Cllr Athwal also pleaded with the Home Secretary to provide more officers or additional funds to help officers cope with the “crime epidemic” in Redbridge. 

The council leader also invited the Home Secretary to the borough to speak to burglary victims and councillors.