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  1. Updates on Wednesday, 18 May 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us at Essex Live today. But before we go, continuing our theme of cardboard cut-outs, this was tweeted to us by Brentwood Council.

A cardboard Queen
Brentwood Council

Their "royal" visitor (which is actually a life-sized cardboard Queen) made an appearance on Shenfield Common on Monday. It's all to do with an event there at the weekend. 

We'll be back tomorrow morning from 08:00 with more of the county's news, sport, weather and travel. In the meantime, take a scroll back down the page to catch up with today's stories.  

Your 'cardboard cops' Facebook comments

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Lots of you have been commenting on our Facebook page about the cardboard policemen at Chelmsford Prison, which have now been removed.

Facebook logo over the cardboard cop

Michael said: "Tried these in Wales years ago, then people started nicking them, turned out not very cost effective lol."

Chris added: "They will be as much use as a chocolate fire guard, what a waste of tax payers' money."

And Jill simply put: "It would be funny if it wasn't so serious."

Weather: Heavy showers clearing to leave a dry night

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

A few heavy showers will continue to die out through this evening. This will leave a largely dry night with clear spells developing. Lows of 9C (48F).

Map of the East

Tomorrow will be a mostly dry, bright day with some hazy spells of sunshine. Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

You can get the latest forecast for your area via BBC Weather.

More ANPR cameras to be installed around Essex

The number of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras across the county is to increase from 61 to 95 over the next year.


Essex Police says the technology has helped secure convictions for crimes including kidnap, drugs and murder, and help to keep the roads safe.

New camera sites are being considered in Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Colchester, Harlow, Harwich, Rayleigh, Saffron Walden, Southend, Thurrock, Wickford, Woodham Ferrers and the Tendring area.

In the news: Man receives suspended sentenced for woodpile fire... Chelmsford Prison 'cardboard cops' removed

If you're just joining us, here are the top stories we've been looking at on Essex Live this afternoon:

  • A man has been handed a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting responsibility for a fire in a 5,000-tonne woodpile in Mountnessing
  • Cardboard policemen that were put up outside Chelmsford Prison have now been removed to "avoid confusion" 
  • The RM postcode, which includes Grays, Tilbury and Purfleet, has been named as the luckiest location for National Lottery wins over £50,000

Unemployment figures announced

Figures out today show there has been a fall in unemployment in Essex compared to last month, but it's up from January.

Unemployment figures in Essex
Getty Images

Nationally, the number of people out of work fell to 1.69 million between January and March, down 2,000 from the previous quarter.

O'Malley apologises to Mountnessing locals after causing two-month woodpile fire

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

I tried to grab a word with Joshua O'Malley as he left Chelmsford Crown Court.

He told me he didn't want to speak to the media, but did say: "I'm just sorry about what happened to the local people, that's it."

Suspended sentence for man responsible for Mountnessing woodpile fire

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Joshua O'Malley, 26, of Vale Court, Wheathampstead, was handed the suspended sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court a short while ago. 

Mountnessing Fire
Essex Fire and Rescue

Firefighters remained at the site for more than 1,500 hours between 18 August and 16 October 2014 while the fire was being put out.  

O'Malley admitted charges of operating a waste storage and treatment facility without being authorised by an environmental permit, and one of treating waste "in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health". 

BreakingMan receives suspended sentenced for Mountnessing woodpile fire

News just in from Chelmsford Crown Court.

A man who admitted responsibility for a fire in a 5,000-tonne woodpile in Mountnessing, that took more than two months to fully extinguish, has been handed a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years. 

Reaction to come...

'Cardboard cops' idea folds...

The cardboard policemen guarding Chelmsford Prison have now gone!

Cardboard cut-outs axed

The Prison Service says it has taken the decision to remove the 7ft (2.1m) tall figures "to avoid confusion". 

Earlier a spokesman said there had been "no removal of CCTV" and the cardboard figures were "an additional measure only".  

It was fun while it lasted, I hope they were recycled...

Essex v Derbyshire play to resume at 16:00

Play between Essex and Derbyshire is to resume at 16:00. 

View more on twitter

Although looking out of the office window, which isn't far from the County Ground, another downpour isn't far away.

Clouds in Chelmsford

Live coverage can be found here.

Charity shop takes tough stance against 'scumbags' stealing donations

How do you feel about a charity shop using the word "scumbags" to describe those stealing its donations?


Well, the Echo is reporting that a sign has appeared outside Barnardo's on London Road, Leigh, warning customers not to leave donations on the doorstep when the store is shut following a spate of thefts.

The notice is said to include the line: "Scumbags think it's ok to steal from a charity that helps children."

You can read the full story here

The only way is Essex for big National Lottery wins

Have you got an RM postcode? If so, you could be considered fortunate, as Camelot has revealed it's the luckiest location for National Lottery wins. 

Lotto balls

The area, which includes Grays, Tilbury and Purfleet, has had more winners of £50,000 prizes or higher than anywhere else in the country, since the lottery began.

Remember when a Sir Eric Pickles cut-out went on an American road trip?

It's not just policemen who have been transformed into cardboard replicas. In 2013, two university students took a life-size cut-out of Brentwood and Ongar MP Sir Eric Pickles on an American road trip.

Why I hear you ask? The pair said they were "huge fans" of the politician.

Eric Pickles alligator hunting
James Johnson
Eric Pickles in San Antonio
James Johnson
Eric Pickles on a train
James Johnson

Two men stabbed in Chafford Hundred fight

A man was stabbed in the neck and another man stabbed in the leg during a fight in Chafford Hundred last night, police say.

Drake Road

Both men have been taken to hospital. An 18-year-old man is said to be in a serious condition, while the other man's injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. 

The fight is said to have involved about six men and happened at about 23:00 in Drake Road.  

Weather: Showery rain, some heavy this afternoon

BBC Weather

It will be a rather cloudy afternoon, with outbreaks of rain gradually clearing to scattered showers, some of which will be heavy.

Maximum temperature: 15C (59F).

Rain stops play
Essex County Cricket Club

Rain means only seven overs of cricket have been possible at the County Ground in Chelmsford today. 

You can follow play (if there is any) of Essex v Derbyshire here.

Gloomy at Chelmsford

Essex 538-7 dec v Derbyshire 280 & 174-1

BBC Radio Derby's Dave Fletcher:

"It's raining heavily at Chelmsford where Essex are trying to force victory against Derbyshire.

"Just 30 minutes play was possible in the morning session with the visitors adding 24 runs fairly comfortably.

"The prospects for further play are not looking good with the covers now over the entire square."

Darren Kelly murder: Photo of weapon released by police

Essex Police has released a picture of the knife Chris Carroll used to murder Darren Kelly.

Murder weapon
Essex Police

The 20-year-old has been given a minimum of 21-years in prison.

In the news: Chris Carroll jailed for life... Chelmsford Prison cardboard cut-outs 'a bit silly'

Good afternoon, if you're just joining us on Essex Live here are the top stories we've covered so far:

  • Chris Carroll, who fatally stabbed Darren Kelly in Pitsea last year, has been jailed for a minimum of 21 years
  • Life-sized cardboard cut-outs of police designed to deter people from smuggling contraband into Chelmsford Prison have been branded "a bit silly"
  • Firefighters in Great Saling have tackled a 40-tonne wood fire overnight

Forty tonnes of wood caught fire in Great Saling

Firefighters in Great Saling had a busy evening last night after 40 tonnes of wood, machinery and a lorry caught alight. 

Four crews were sent to the scene in a builders' yard in The Street. There are no reports of any injuries.

Essex Fire and Rescue

Chris Carroll sentencing comes to end

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

The sentencing of Chris Carroll at Chelmsford Crown Court is coming to an end.

The 20-year-old will now begin his 21-year prison sentence for murder. 

We'll continue to take a look at other stories happening around the county. 

Darren Kelly murder: The timeline of events

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

To recap, here's the timeline of events surrounding the murder of Darren Kelly:

Caister Drive
  • 20 October 2015: Darren Kelly is found injured on Caister Drive, Pitsea. He later died in Basildon Hospital
  • 23 October 2015: Four people, including a 15-year-old girl, are charged with murder
  • 12 April 2016: Chris Carroll, 20, along with two 17-year-old boys and the girl face trial at Chelmsford Crown Court
  • 17 May 2016: A jury finds Chris Carroll guilty. The three teenagers are discharged
  • 18 May 2016: Carroll, who was described by the judge as the self-appointed leader of a "modern day lynch mob", is handed a minimum of 21 years in jail 

Carroll was the leader of a 'modern day lynch mob'

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Judge Christopher Ball QC continued that Chris Carroll was the self-appointed leader of a "modern day lynch mob".

Unlike the other defendants, who yesterday were found not guilty of murder, Carroll was "not satisfied just with pushing, punching or kicking", Judge Ball said.

"You inflicted a series of fatal wounds, leaving him to die and warning others against 'grassing'."

Judge: Darren Kelly's killing 'a tale of modern times'

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Judge Christopher Ball QC has told Chelmsford Crown Court the killing of Darren Kelly was a "tale of modern times". 

The jury heard that Mr Kelly was lured to his death after claims he was a pedophile.

"Once again a life has been ended by knife point," Judge Ball said.

Chelmsford Crown Court

No reaction from Carroll over 21-year jail sentence

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Chris Carroll gave no reaction from the dock as he was handed a minimum of 21 years in jail for murdering Darren Kelly.

We'll hear from the judge at Chelmsford Crown Court shortly.

BreakingChris Carroll sentenced to 21 years in jail for Darren Kelly's murder

Chris Carroll has been sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in prison for the murder of Darren Kelly in Pitsea last October.

Chris Carroll in court for sentencing

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

I'm at Chelmsford Crown Court, awaiting the sentencing of Chris Carroll.

From the press bench I can see Carroll is wearing a grey round-neck jumper in the dock, and he looks as if he hasn't slept. 

We're expecting the murder sentence shortly.

A recap of events in the Darren Kelly murder case

If you weren't following our live coverage yesterday on the Darren Kelly murder verdict, here's a recap of events that took place:

Darren Kelly
Essex Police
  • Chris Carroll was found guilty of murder following a unanimous verdict at Chelmsford Crown Court
  • Three teenagers also accused of murder were found not guilty
  • Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings said Darren Kelly "lost his life due to the completely unfounded belief that he intended to meet an underage girl"
  • After the guilty verdict, Darren Kelly's family said the 42-year-old father was "a kind, hard-working, caring, fun-loving, all-round good guy"

Chris Carroll sentencing to begin at 10:00 this morning

The sentencing of Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, is due to begin at Chelmsford Crown Court at 10:00.

Yesterday he was found guilty of murdering 42-year-old lorry driver Darren Kelly in the town in October. 

You'll be able to follow live updates from the court here.

Chris Carroll
Essex Police

A look at cardboard cut-outs around the world

It seems as if life-size cardboard cut-outs have been used across the world in a bid to tackle crime... 

Cardboard cut-out in India
  • Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have been using life-like cardboard figures of officers to try and stop traffic violations
  • Cardboard cut-outs of police officers are also being used in a bid to deter shoplifters in Berkshire
  • In 1999, police in the West Country made a cardboard cut-out of a violent criminal they were trying to trace in a bid to "jog the minds of potential witnesses"

What Twitter makes of the cardboard coppers

We've enjoyed reading your comments about the cardboard coppers on Twitter this morning. 


Paul tweeted us, saying: "Cardboard cut out police are a good idea they don't go sick or suffer from stress!"

Dan wrote: "It works. Abroad, I've seen old police cars parked out and cardboard officers in trees next to the road. Sobering."

Finally, Austin said: "Don't laugh that's the police of the future wonder if he has found my £600 of tools yet!!!!"

Are cardboard cut-out policeman a good deterrent?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Not all residents living close to Chelmsford Prison think a cardboard cut-out policeman is the best way to combat smuggling.

Cardboard copper

One local told BBC Essex: "If someone's determined to take something in or out of the prison then they'll do it anyway."

Another added: "I don't think it's much of a deterrent if that's what it's meant to be."

What do you think? Get involved with the conversation on Twitter using #esxlive.

If you wanted your own 'cardboard cop'...

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

It's not clear how much one of these "cardboard cops" costs Chelmsford Prison, but from a quick search online I found you can buy a similar life-size policeman from various party stores for about £29.99.

I'm not quite sure where you'd put him, but some websites suggest they're good for stag or hen dos.

Chelmsford Prison

Cardboard cut-out policeman to 'remind people of breaking the law'

In a statement, the Ministry of Justice said: "HMP Chelmsford uses a number of measures to deter people from bringing contraband into the prison, including CCTV cameras, sniffer dogs and searching all visitors."

“These items are an additional measure only. One cut-out is used in the visitor area to remind people of the consequences of breaking the law by bringing in drugs for prisoners.”

Cardboard copper

Weather: Cloudy start with outbreaks of rain

Aisling Creevey

BBC Look East weather

It's a rather cloudy start to the day with some outbreaks of showery rain. The rain will continue into this afternoon, with some locally heavy showers developing. Highs of 15C (59F).

Get the latest forecast for your area via BBC Weather.

Chelmsford Prison deploys cardboard cut-out policeman to tackle drugs

The cardboard cut-outs are about 7ft (2.1m) tall and show a policeman dressed in his full uniform. 

Chelmsford Prison says it's to stop people bringing drugs in, after a recent spate of packages being thrown over the walls. 

Cardboard cut-out policeman

Welcome to Essex Live

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Morning, and welcome to another day of live news, sport, weather and travel updates for Essex.

We start this morning with an exclusive story from BBC Essex, which has found that life-sized cardboard cut-outs of policemen have been put up at Chelmsford Prison to try to stop people smuggling packages in.

We've also got this morning's weather coming up shortly, and the day's other news.