Police are urging people to be vigilant following a spate of burglaries, many at homes with unlocked doors or windows.
Detectives are investigating more than 20 incidents that have taken place since August 1 in Jaywick, Clacton, St Osyth, Dovercourt, Harwich, Lawford and Thorpe-le-Soken.
In most cases, doors or windows were not securely locked. In five cases, the victims were outside in the garden or driveway at the time.
Detective Constable Andy Dodd, of Clacton CID, said: “The items stolen have included handbags, purses and jewellery, and in some cases the thieves have then used their victims’ bank cards to withdraw money from cash machines.
“Our enquiries so far suggest there are a number of suspects involved and we are not currently linking all the incidents.
“We are continuing our investigations and have already charged one person in relation to one of the offences.
“I would urge residents to please ensure their doors and windows are securely locked, even if they are just popping out for a short while. Ensure that uPVC doors are double locked by pushing up the handle and locking with the key, and put all valuables out of sight of any opportunistic burglars.”
Anyone with information about any of the burglaries is asked to call Clacton CID on 101.