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  1. Updates for Friday, 17 March, 2017
  2. Police constable dismissed for gross misconduct
  3. Man jailed for attacking PC and stealing his dog
  4. Basildon Council 'frustrated' by efforts to remove travellers
  5. Two charged after M25 Waltham Abbey road death
  6. Horse retrieved from ditch after being stuck in silt and sludge
  7. Children sought for interview after crash involving five-year-old
  8. Police release images after shooting at boxing event

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Chris Dagnall scores both goals to help Crewe ease their relegation worries with victory over play-off chasing Colchester.

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National League

Sam Come's brace eases Braintree to victory over National League strugglers Southport.

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Southend United stage a stunning second-half fightback to beat Walsall in a thrilling League One encounter.

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Mural in Harlow by Yola (Jola Kudela)

Six months after Polish man Arkadiusz Jozwik was killed in Harlow, the Polish ambassador praises its openness.

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Ambulance and fire crews at Witham chemical incident

A mistake in mixing chemicals at a leisure centre results in eight people needing treatment.

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Severe disruption: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe disruption, between J8 for A120 and J9 for A11 Saffron Walden.

M11 Essex - One lane closed and slow traffic on M11 northbound between J8, A120 (Bishops Stortford) and J9 A11 Saffron Walden, because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M25 Kent anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J1A for A282 and J31 for A1306 affecting M25 J1B.

M25 Kent - Two lanes closed and queuing traffic on M25 Dartford Tunnel anticlockwise between J1a, A282 (Swanscombe) and J31, A1306 (West Thurrock). Congestion on A282 to Dartford.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Cat chasing rat in drainage tunnel

"An intrepid moggy" is captured on camera in "hot pursuit" of a rat through a drainage tunnel.

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Severe disruption: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe disruption, at J8 for A120.

M11 Essex - M11 in Bedlar's Green partially blocked and Queuing traffic on entry slip road northbound at J8, A120 (Bishops Stortford), because of an obstruction on the road.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Down's syndrome toddler wins Matalan modelling contract
A two-year-old toddler with Down's syndrome has been chosen as one of the new faces of Matalan.
Artwork celebrates Harlow's diversity after 'single punch' death
A large-scale piece of art is to go on display to celebrate a town's diversity.

Our live coverage across the day

Goodbye from the Essex Live team for another week. We'll be back with all your live news, weather, travel and sport from 08:00 on Monday.

Before we go, here's a quick look at some of the stories making our headlines today:

  • A man who assaulted a police officer and hijacked a patrol car is jailed
  • Shortage of GPs prompts recruitment drive in schools
  • Police release images after shooting at a boxing event.

Scroll down for the full details... and have a great weekend.

Game of cat and mouse captured underground

A real-life underground game of cat and "mouse" was captured on CCTV as road workers repaired a drainage tunnel.

Rat in drainage system
Highways England
Cat in drainage system
Highways England

Highways England was working on the drainage off the A120 at Wix, near Manningtree.

Workers ran a camera down to check for any problems and to ensure everything had gone smoothly.

The camera picked up a large rat heading down one of the drains - with a cat in hot pursuit.

Site supervisor Jason Appleton said: "Sometimes we see rats going down the drains, but it’s the first time we’ve ever seen an intrepid moggy in hot pursuit.

"It was like an episode of Tom and Jerry live."

The cat was later spotted leaving the drainage system, apparently foiled, much like the real Tom & Jerry.

The drainage system
Highways England

Severe disruption: A13 Essex westbound

BBC News Travel

A13 Essex westbound severe disruption, at A176 Nether Mayne.

A13 Essex - A13 in Fobbing blocked London-bound at Five Bells Interchange, because of a spillage of concrete slabs on the road.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

A mix of weather for the region tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A mostly cloudy night, with some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle across the BBC East region.

Temperatures falling to 7C (45F).

Weather graphic for Saturday morning

It's a mixed bag of weather for the region tomorrow.

Some parts will remain cloudy with further outbreak of patchy rain - and other areas could have a mainly dry day with sunny intervals.

Winds will ease, with temperatures reaching 14C (57F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Shortage of GPs prompts recruitment drive in schools

The national shortage of GPs has prompted a NHS commissioning group to think long-term about encouraging students into working in medicine. 

Local doctors across south east Essex have been touring schools in a bid to encourage students to consider a career as a GP. 

Tricia D’Orsi, chief nurse at NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We are keen to encourage students to consider careers in general practice – this includes GPs and nurses. 

"We hope that students may be inspired by real-life stories of local GPs and nurses to become the GPs and nurses of the future."

Students at the GP talk
NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG

Last night over 100 students attended an event headed up by Dr Mike Saad, who works at Wakering Medical Centre, who gave a talk on his role. 

He said: "It’s fair to say the work can be hard, the hours may be long, but knowing that you can change and improve people's lives is very rewarding.

"Every day is different. You simply never know what you will be dealing with next. It could be a headache that won’t go away, a chest infection, a schizophrenic breakdown, a pregnancy or a child with breathing difficulties.  

"It’s time to raise the profile of primary care and the vital role that it plays as part of our community.

"Many GPs are approaching retirement and we are looking for a new generation of doctors to take the reins.”

PC sacked for 'misleading' investigation into racially-aggravated assault

A police officer has been sacked for misleading an investigation after a woman was punched and knocked unconscious.

Chelmsford Police Station

An independently-chaired misconduct panel heard PC Alan Conran, of Essex Police, had been called to reports of two women being racially abused by a group of men in Bond Street, Chelmsford, on 14 December 2014.

The panel was told PC Conran failed to "adequately investigate" the allegation and "deliberately misled" colleagues during the investigation.

As a result, an offender was convicted for assault, but "the true impact of the racial abuse which may have aggravated the assault was not brought before the court".

PC Conran, who is based at Chelmsford police station, was dismissed for gross misconduct. 

Essex Police  Ch Supt Luke Collison said: "Public trust in policing depends on the honesty and integrity of police officers being beyond reproach. 

"Officers make mistakes and we must always ensure that they and the force learn from them. 

"However, PC Conran’s conduct fell well below the standard the public expects and amounts to gross misconduct. In such cases dismissal is a regrettably a necessary sanction."

Shedding light on the darkness

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

The Spring Equinox marks the start of astronomical Spring - and that's on Monday.

But today's the Spring Equilux.

Confused? This tweet explains:

View more on twitter

You've heard of leaves on the line? How about a wheelbarrow on the road?

Saffron Walden crash

The boy sustained life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a Renault Megane on a suburban street.

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Man jailed for assaulting police officer and stealing his dog

A man has been jailed for assaulting a police officer whose car was taken with a police dog in the back.

Pudding Lane, Chigwell

The attack happened in Chigwell, Essex, on 31 October when the officer  tried to breathalyse a driver

Tony Turner, 36, of Vincent Road, Dagenham, was charged with a number of offences including assault and aggravated vehicle-taking. 

He was imprisoned for 30 months at Chelmsford Crown Court. 

Turner was given 18 months in prison for occasioning actual bodily harm plus 12 months for possessing identity documents with intent. 

The judge sentenced him to 15 months' imprisonment for aggravated vehicle-taking to run concurrently. 

Two charged over death of Leicestershire woman

Amy Woodfield

BBC Local Live

Two people have been charged with causing the death of a Leicestershire woman by dangerous driving in Essex.

Laura Cooper was a passenger in a car that was involved in a collision with a lorry on the M25 in Waltham Abbey in March last year. Another passenger in the car was also injured.

A 62-year-old lorry driver from Telford was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

A 32-year-old woman from London was charged with the same offences as well as causing death by careless driving while with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit. 

Both are due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on 12 April.

Essex football team news

Southend United said they will check on the fitness of Jason Demetriou at training today. The full-back missed Tuesday's win at Coventry.

Jason Demetriou
Getty Images

But Adam Thompson and Simon Cox are both expected to be available for the League One match with Walsall on Saturday. 

Colchester United are waiting to see if they can include Richard Brindley in their squad to travel to Crewe in League Two. The defender has been out for two weeks with a calf muscle injury.

Southend Pier extension plans submitted

Proposals to expand the entrance to Southend Pier have been submitted to local planners.

Southend Pier

Southend Council , which owns the pier, has earmarked £300,000 in its budget for the scheme which would see the pier entrance re-modelled to provide space for exhibitions, refreshments and ice creams.

If approved it is hoped the re-design will take place later this year. 

The council has said it would offer a much more attractive, modern and larger entrance to the pier, helping to attract more visitors to the seafront and the iconic landmark.

Councillor Ann Holland said: "By proposing these improvements, which would be part of a continued and multi-million pound investment in the pier, we hope to make the entrance more attractive and appealing to visitors, and help develop a sustainable income for years to come."

How much?

Jozef Hall

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Earlier this week, you may remember we mentioned that you, humble taxpayers, are still paying for the regional fire control centre that never was .

The Waterbeach headquarters would have answered all emergency fire calls from Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and north Essex.

However, the project was  abandoned in 2010  after the coalition government determined the "requirements of the project cannot be delivered to an acceptable timeframe".

Mothballed fire control centre in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) initially refused to comment on why it had failed to let the building.

However, we've now finally got a breakdown of exactly how our money is being used to support this ongoing venture.

The total costs in 2015-16 were:

  • Rent (net): £1,384,903.36
  • Rates: £49,296.33
  • Service charge: £17,268.76
  • Water: £246.78
  • Electricity: £25,605.73
  • Fixed Maintenance: £200,227.33
  • Reactive Maintenance: £1,166.57

Total: £1,678,714.86 = £4,599 a day

Yep, going on for £2m a year.

Man snapping pencil

We asked the DCLG to comment on the figures. We especially wanted to know why £26,000 of electricity was being used each year when no-one was there, but they wouldn't. 

With another 14 years left on the lease, the final spend will dwarf the millions spent so far on a service which has never been used. 

White elephant? You decide...

Two charged after M25 Waltham Abbey road death

Two people have been charged in connection with a road crash last year in which a Leicestershire woman died.A Nissan Note car and a HGV were involved in a collision on the M25 at Waltham Abbey on 29 March.

Laura Cooper, 34, who was one of the passengers in the car, died in hospital on 2 April.

Meanwhile another passenger in the Nissan, a 17-year-old girl from London, was injured.A 62-year-old HGV driver from Telford was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.A 32-year old woman from south-east London was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit.Both are due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 12 April.  

Police release images after shooting at boxing event

Essex Police have released images of people they'd like to speak to who might have information about a shooting in Brentwood. 

There are a lot of them...

Pictures of the public at the match
Essex Police

A 31-year-old was injured after a boxing event at the Brentwood Centre on Doddinghurst Road at about midnight on Saturday, 18 February.

Police want to hear from anyone in the crowd who may have useful information.

Pictures of the public at the match
Essex Police

 A 32-year-old man is currently on police bail having been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Pictures of the public at the match
Essex Police

Investigators have also released photos of specific individuals they would like to talk to:

Brentwood Centre crowd members
Essex Police

Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings said: "Although we have made an arrest... we are releasing a number of photographs of people who were attending a boxing event at the venue that evening, who might have seen what happened or have vital information.

"We would also ask their friends or relatives to let us know who they are so that they can be eliminated from our inquiries."Any piece of information, however small you may think it is, could help our investigation."

Horse retrieved from ditch after being stuck in silt and sludge

Essex Fire Service's animal rescue unit have helped remove a horse from a ditch in Jaywick. 

The horse's hind legs were stuck in silt and sludge and its head was just above the water level in the ditch near Aragon Close.

Horse being rescued by fire fighters
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

A vet was called to sedate the horse and the owner and a farmer held the horse’s head out of the water.

Meanwhile, crews used strops and ropes which they attached to the horse and a tractor and pulled it from the ditch.

When crews left the site, the horse was "comfortable and grazing again".

Children sought for interview after crash involving five-year-old

Essex Police  say they want to speak to children who were with a boy at a time of a road crash in Saffron Walden which left the five-year-old seriously injured.The boy suffered life-threatening injuries on Wednesday after being hit by a Renault Megane, which also hit a house in Gabriel Street. 

The car and the damage to the building
Saffron Walden Fire

An air ambulance attended the scene and the boy was flown to Addenbrooke's Hospital where he is in a "critical but stable" condition. 

The driver - who police believe was a learner - and the passenger of the car have been voluntarily interviewed by officers. 

However, they say they are keen to speak to any of the children who were with the boy at the time who have not already spoken to police.

The damage to the building
Saffron Walden Fire

Get tickets for Kasabian's 'intimate' Essex gig - if you buy the new album

Arena-sized rock band Kasabian have announced an eight-date UK and Eire tour of smaller "intimate" venues ahead of their headline festival slots at Reading/Leeds.

The Leicester band visit Southend's Cliffs Pavilion on Sunday 16 April.

Tickets aren't on general sale yet and to be in with a chance of successfully buying early-bird tickets, you've got to pre-order their new album .


The tour also takes in Llandudno, Newport (the Welsh one), Birmingham, Dublin and three nights at The Forum in London.

Braintree Town

Braintree Town have agreed a loan deal for Millwall centre back Christian Mbulu to run until mid-April.

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House fire blamed on charger

Essex Fire Service has said a toy's charger, which was in use, was to blame for a blaze in a bedroom of a property in Leigh-on-Sea last night.

Firefighters were called to a three-storey property in Woodside just past 18:00.

No-one was hurt, but the bedroom has been badly damaged. 

Temporary library for readers in East Tilbury

A temporary library is being opened in East Tilbury after its permanent facility was damaged in a recent fire. 

The blaze, which was started deliberately when a car was driven into the building, happened two months ago  (pictured).

The new library is being set up in the East Tilbury Village Hall each Thursday and Friday, and is using books donated by local people. 

Bata Heritage Centre fire, East Tilbury

Car park mum demands apology

A mother-of-two from Shenfield has demanded a personal apology from Chelmsford City Council after waiting for almost an hour to exit a local car park.

Meadows Surface Car Park

Sophie Mather said the queues to leave the Meadows surface car park were so long that she had to pay more on her ticket.

She was forced to leave the car at the barrier and take her three-year-old son to the nearest pay station.

Chelmsford City Council has apologised saying that faulty barriers were to blame. It says it's contacted the supplier to ensure a similar fault can't happen again.

Council 'frustrated' by efforts to remove travellers

Planning enforcement officers have said they are  frustrated by the speed at which they can remove a group of people from an unauthorised travellers site near Basildon.

Hovefields Avenue

Basildon Borough Council said its bailiffs visited the site near Hovefields Avenue in Wickford on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the breach of a High Court injunction.

Officers said they served notices on two individuals who were there.

The authority's deputy leader, Conservative councillor Kevin Blake, says he's "frustrated" that he can't speed up the process to restore the land to its green-belt status.

Earlier this month, some local residents said they were concerned that the site  could turn into another Dale Farm , which was Europe's largest traveller encampment until it was shut down in 2011. 

Positive feedback to A12 consultation

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

Highways England say about 900 people have shared their views on plans to widen the A12 in Essex as part of a public consultation which closed recently.

Highways England

Before the consultation closed at the beginning of this month, 679 had responded online, 65 had sent e-mails registering their feedback and around 150 had posted responses.

Highways England plans to widen the A12 between junction 19 (Boreham interchange) and junction 25 (Marks Tey interchange), which aims to reduce congestion, improve safety and boost the economy.

The government agency says 89% of respondents at the public events were positive about the proposals which were held alongside Essex County Council’s consultation into its nine options for a new A120 route between Braintree and Colchester.

Work on the A12 is due to begin in 2020. 

Weather: A cool and cloudy day

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

A cool end to the working week, with the best of any sunshine this morning.

Turning cloudy, but staying dry, with freshening winds.

Temperatures reaching a high of 11C (52F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Elizabeth Rizzini has the forecast for the east of England

Welcome to today's live updates for Essex

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to another day of live updates from Essex.

We'll be here from now until 18:00 bringing you the very latest news, sport, weather and travel.

First up, a full regional weather forecast... 

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J29 for A127.

M25 Greater London - M25 lane blocked on entry slip road anticlockwise at J29, A127 (Romford), because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time