Residents in Essex are being advised to ward off unwanted trick-or-treaters this Halloween .

Essex Police say fears of anti-social behaviour and vandalism rise during the Halloween period, and as a result officers are helping residents by issuing a poster for those who don’t want youngsters in fancy dress knocking on their doors.

A statement from the police said: “It can be an anxious time for residents, especially the elderly and people who live alone, so Essex Police is taking a firm approach to those people who cause problems for others.”

Officers are advising those who wish to not be bothered this Halloween to place the poster in the windows of their house .

Sgt Nathalie Carr added that householders do not have to respond to knocks on the door during Halloween .

“If there are any problems or incidents outside their house and they are concerned they can call police for advice or assistance,” she said.

“There will be a high level of visible policing in all districts in Essex on Halloween offering public reassurance and deterring anti-social behaviour .”

Parents that decide to let their children go trick or treating this weekend have been urged by the police to remind them to stay away from strangers and ensure they are accompanied by an adult.

Shopkeepers have also been urged to help reduce the threat of vandalism in the area by using “common sense” when selling eggs or flour to young people.