A PENSIONER and a schoolchild as young as seven were among the upskirting victims in Essex last year, new police figures show.

Data from police forces across the country shows victims were targeted in shops, while at work, in the street and even at school during 2018, with only a handful of cases resulting in a criminal charge.

The figures - which were released on the day upskirting became a specific criminal offence - show the majority of cases involved female victims and male perpetrators.

Under the new rules if caught those who carry out the act could face two years in jail.

The law came into force following a high-profile campaign led by Gina Martin, who spent 18 months fighting to make the cruel craze a specific offence after two men took a picture up her skirt at a festival in 2017.

The new figures show more than half of 43 police forces recorded allegations of upskirting during 2018.

Essex Police said there were three complainants in the county in 2018.

This included where a suspect was charged with indecency after upskirt images of a child aged between seven and nine were discovered in his possession.

But another case involving images of a 70-year-old woman, ran into difficulties after the victim declined or was unable to identify the offender, despite a suspect being identified by police.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Upskirting is distressing and highly intrusive and we urge anyone who has been a victim to please tell us so we can investigate.

“We will use the powers available to us to identify and bring offenders to justice.

“As an example, last month we successfully secured a sexual harm prevention order against one man who we investigated for upskirting offences.

“You can report crimes to us on 101.”