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Summary

  1. Almost two million cigarettes seized at port
  2. Man appears at Chelmsford Crown Court, charged with murder and attempted murder
  3. Inquest hears lorry driver was killed in a crash as he left M25 in Essex at twice the recommended speed
  4. Updates on Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Jodie Smith and Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Our live coverage across the day

    That's it from us at Essex Live today - thanks for stopping by. 

    We'll be back tomorrow morning with the latest news for the county. 

    Have a great evening. 

  2. Weather: Clear with a touch of frost possible overnight

    Alex Dolan

    BBC Look East weather

    It'll be dry and sunny this evening with light winds. Staying dry overnight, too, with mostly clear skies.

    This will allow temperatures to fall and a touch of grass frost is possible.

    Minimum temperature: 5C (41F).

    Weather map for the East

    Tomorrow will be another fine day with sunny spells. Turning a little cloudy later but staying dry. 

    You can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast here.

  3. Sussex press for victory

    Essex 320 & 253-7 v Sussex 360 & 288

    BBC Sussex's Adrian Harms at Hove:

    "Suddenly two quick wickets as Essex look to chase down the target and Sussex are back in the driving seat and pressing for victory.

    "The new ball has been taken and the hosts need three more wickets. Alastair Cook stands in their way - dropped on one, he is now 123 not out." 

  4. Five budgies put down after being found dumped in Epping alleyway

    Five budgies have had to be put down after they were discovered dumped in an alleyway in Epping, the RSPCA says.

    Budgies

    A member of the public came across the birds off Rayfield on Sunday. It comes just a few months after four birds were found abandoned in the same spot.

    An RPSCA spokeswoman said: "The budgies were in a really bad way. Sadly, the vet assessed them and decided that the kindest thing to do was to put the budgies to sleep to end their suffering."

  5. Police explain 999 no show at Lidl

    Your Thurrock

    A senior Essex Police officer has set the record straight over their attendance at a 999 call to a shop where shoplifters had confronted staff with a knife.  

  6. Car driven at group of men carrying knives in Clacton

    Essex Police is investigating a large disturbance in Clacton, where a car is believed to have been driven towards a group of men carrying knives. 

    Melbourne Road

    The altercation happened in Melbourne Road on Monday night. The car struck two parked vehicles before a fight broke out between the two groups, consisting of seven men.

    The force says it searched the area and is now looking to locate those involve. No-one is believed to have been injured.

  7. Headlines: Colchester double murder trial jury sent home... Dumped budgies put down

    Nick Alliker

    BBC Essex

    Here are the top stories for Essex this afternoon: 

    • The jury in the trial of a teenager accused of murdering two strangers in Colchester has been sent home for the day
    • Five budgies have had to be put down after they were discovered dumped in an alleyway in Epping
    • There has been a slight increase in the number of people out of work and claiming benefits in Essex
  8. Your pictures: The sun is shining on Mersea Island

    Jack Warren

    BBC Local Live

    You could be mistaken to think this was taken far far away, but actually Alan Conran has sent it to us from Mersea Island.

    Beach huts on Mersea

    He says: "Not as warm as yesterday, breeze has a chill to it but the sun is shining nonetheless."  

    If you've got a photo you'd like to share with us, you can email it, tweet it, or post it on our Facebook page.

  9. It's 100 runs for Alastair Cook

    BBC Sport

    England captain Alastair Cook has topped 100 runs in Essex's second innings against Sussex.

    It took him 189 balls and included 11 fours - and all after Danny Briggs dropped him at slip early in his innings. 

    Essex need another 126 for victory. You can follow updates here.

    Alastair Cook
  10. Jury sent home for the day in Colchester double murder trial

    Charlotte Rose

    BBC Essex

    The jury in the trial of a teenager accused of murdering two strangers in Colchester has been sent home for the day. 

    Judge Robin Spencer QC says he has about "10 minutes" left of summing up to do when the case resumes at Guildford Crown Court tomorrow. 

    The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, is on trial for the murders of James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in 2014. He denies the charges but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

  11. Robson Green spotted filming in Clacton

    If you were taking a stroll along Clacton seafront yesterday you might have seen TV star Robson Green filming a new television series. 

    Robson Green

    The Solider Solider actor visited the north Essex town as part of a series about coasts around the UK. He spent time with mods and rockers to discuss their rivalry in the 60s and 70s. 

    The show is scheduled to be broadcast on ITV later this year. 

  12. Jury yet to retire in Colchester double murder trial

    Charlotte Rose

    BBC Essex

    The jury in the trial of a teenager who is accused of murdering James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in Colchester in 2014 is yet to retire to consider its verdict.

    Sketch from inside Guildford Crown Court

    The judge has spent today summing up the case inside Guildford Crown Court. 

    The 17-year-old boy, who can't be named, has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denies murder.   

  13. Travel: Rail delays of 25 minutes to and from Stansted Airport

    There are delays on trains to and from Stansted Airport this afternoon due to an earlier signalling problem.

    View more on twitter
  14. Essex police and crime commissioner candidates battle it out

    If you had a look at our Essex Live page yesterday afternoon, you would have seen it was a bit different to normal - we brought you coverage of a special police and crime commissioner debate.

    Police and crime commissioner candidates

    If you didn't get chance to join us, why not have a look at the coverage by scrolling back down the feed or watching some of the debate back on Facebook?

    Five candidates are in the running for the position on 5 May. They are: Bob Spink, UKIP; Martin Terry, Independent; Roger Hirst, Conservative; Kevin McNamara, Lib Dems; and Chris Vince, Labour.

  15. Weather: A dry and sunny afternoon

    BBC Weather

    We'll enjoy some more sunshine through the afternoon, though it will feel a bit cooler in coastal spots as a brisk easterly wind picks up.

    Thursday afternoon forecast

    Later on, it'll stay dry overnight with clear spells. But it will get rather chilly with a touch of grass frost likely in some places tomorrow morning.

    Check the latest forecast for your part of Essex on the BBC Weather website.

  16. Cigarette smuggling attempt 'would have cost government £750k'

    Border officials who seized almost two million cigarettes at Harwich International Port say "people tempted by cheap cigarettes and tobacco should think again".

    Cigarettes

    Two separate smuggling attempts have been made in the last six days - the first included 1.3 million cigarettes and the second 400,000.

    Charlotte Mann, Border Force assistant director at Harwich, said had the attempts been successful, the Treasury would have lost £750,000 in unpaid duty and VAT.

  17. WICKET Bopara (c Machan b Shahzad 28)

    Essex 320 & 80-3 v Sussex 360 & 288 - lunch

    BBC Sussex's Adrian Harms at Hove:

    "A wicket on the stroke of lunch has shifted the balance back in favour of Sussex, with Ravi Bopara splendidly caught by Matt Machan, diving at deep square leg

    "Sussex will rue dropping Alastair Cook when he had scored just a single, but with 249 needed in 66 overs all three results are still possible."

  18. Latest headlines: Jury in Colchester murders trial due to be sent out... More than a million cigarettes seized at port

    Sonia Watson

    BBC Essex

    Here are the top stories we're looking at this morning:

    • The jury in the trial of a teenager accused of two murders in Colchester is expected to be sent out later today
    • More than a million cigarettes have been seized in Harwich
    • Southend United's slim play-off hopes were extinguished by a 1-0 defeat at home to Oldham Athletic