DRIVE-by yobs threw a firecracker from a car which went off like a “hand grenade”.

Jordan Newell said he was “astounded” after witnessing the incident close to the Matalan store car park off Sheepen Road, Colchester.

It happened as he walked home on Wednesday night.

The driver of a blue Ford Fiesta launched the explosive firecracker out of the window before racing off.

Mr Newell, 33, of Rotary Way, Colchester, contacted Essex Police via Twitter soon afterwards to alert them.

He said: “I was walking home late, at about 11.30pm. I had been seeing friends.

“A car kept stopping in the street.

“They threw something and it was almost the size of a hand grenade.

“It was like a fire cracker and it just exploded.”

Mr Newell said the object was thrown from the window on the driver’s side.

He added: “The top was sparkling but somebody had set fire to a cord on the top of a tin.

“You heard the tin ping on the ground .

“There was lots of shouting from the kids in the car.

“Then they took off at speed.”

Mr Newell said the car went in the direction of Balkerne Hill.

He continued: “I am always someone who has my wits about me when I am walking around at night but it could have caused injury to somebody or another car.

“It also astounds me people would go around doing that sort of thing.”

The force had not responded to Mr Newell’s Tweet yesterday and he said he was unlikely to formally report the incident as he did not think it would be investigated.

An Essex Police spokesman said Mr Newell would need to formally report the incident for it to comment further.

A Colchester Council spokesman said zone wardens had visited the area yesterday.

He added they did not come across anything suspicious or resembling the missile which had been described by Mr Newell.