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  1. Updates on Friday, 4 August 2017
  2. Clacton pensioner admits murdering wife
  3. Excessive drinking blamed for rise in flight disruption
  4. Man critically injured in A12 crash
  5. Large crop fire believed to be arson
  6. Hay stack expected to burn until mid-afternoon

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the week

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Our live updates for Essex have now come to an end for another week.

You can scroll down to catch up with any stories you might have missed, including:

  • Clacton pensioner admits murdering wife
  • Excessive drinking blamed for rise in Stansted flight disruption
  • Large crop fire believed to be arson
  • Man critically injured in A12 crash

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel updates at 08:00 on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Weather: Dry tonight, but a few showers and hail possible

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

The last of any showers dying away to leave a dry night across the BBC East region with clear spells and mainly light west to north-westerly winds.

Temperatures for many of us staying in double figures, but some spots could fall to around 9C (48F).

Apart from a few light showers, Saturday should begin largely fine and dry with some sunshine but eventually heavier showers will move west to east and some of these could produce hail and thunder.

The winds could become quite blustery for a time with isolated gusts of 40mph. Top temperatures around 21C (70F).

Sunday should be fine and dry with sunny spells. Cloud is expected to eventually thicken from the west and temperatures again climbing to around 21C (70F).

BBC East weather graphic

For a more detailed forecast for where you are, visit BBC Weather.

No more cheerleaders at Billericay football club after all

BBC Essex

We’ve been reporting on doubts over the future of Billericay Town Football Club's cheerleading squad

The club's owner Glenn Tamplin has told the BBC it has now been decided that all the cheerleaders are going because they are causing too much of a distraction and negative publicity.

"We have a lot more things to talk about than cheerleaders, like winning games," he said.

Mr Tamplin said one of the girls in the team messaged a player, which was forbidden.

At first, he said, he wanted to give the cheerleaders one more chance, but national press publicity had proved a distraction.

John Chapman

A pensioner will be sentenced next month for murdering his 81-year-old wife at the home they shared.

Read more

Tollgate Village development given go-ahead by government

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A new multi-million pound retail and leisure development in Stanway will go ahead after a government minister overturned the decision of local councillors.

Colchester Borough Council says the £70m Tollgate Village development threatens the future of town centre traders and puts a strain on local roads.

The plans had been rejected twice, but an appeal by the developers has now been approved by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, following an appeal.

Artist's impression of Tollgate Village.
Tollgate Village

A Colchester Borough Council spokeswoman said: "By allowing this major retail proposal outside the town centre he is undermining the whole local plan process and threatening local democracy.

"Since the appeal we have seen a number of town centre stores close, citing the threat of Tollgate Village as a deciding factor.

"Our concern now is that this decision will precipitate economic stagnation in the town centre which could see shops and restaurants lose trade, begin to close or move out of the town centre altogether."

Tollgate Partnership Limited said in a statement: "This is a good day for our town and we want to thank the huge number of people who have supported us; it means the world.

"We hope the next phase of the planning process will proceed quickly and efficiently in order for us to deliver Tollgate Village."

Severe congestion: A12 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A12 Essex both ways severe congestion, around J16 B1007 Stock Road.

A12 Essex - Slow traffic on A12 in West Hanningfield around J16, B1007 (Galleywood).

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

Billericay FC cheerleaders 'not fired', says club

Helen Burchell

BBC News

If you're a fan of cheerleading, you might have been disappointed to read a number of stories about Billericay Town FC's new squad being fired before they'd even begun cheering.

Billericay FC cheerleaders in rehearsal
Nicky Hayes/BTFC

Club boss Glenn Tamplin tweeted to say he'd had to let "The Ricays" go "as the lads were becoming unfocused", the Sun reported.

Tweet from Glen Tamplin
Glenn Tamplin/Twitter

Apparently the footballers were a little distracted by the new all-female cheerleading squad which Tamplin had only employed the previous week.

Glenn Tamplin
Nicky Hayes/BTFC

However, non-league Billericay FC has been in touch to tell us the cheerleading squad's still going strong.

So, why the tweet?

"One of the girls in the team messaged a player saying, 'Let's hook up'," spokesman Nicky Hayes told us.

"The player mentioned it to Glenn and he thought it was more trouble than it was worth so decided to axe them.

"Then he met with the head cheerleader and told her she would need to fire the girl if The Ricays were to continue."

The woman was duly fired and the Ricays cheerleading squad remains at the football club, Mr Hayes confirmed.

They will make their debut appearance in a friendly at home to a West Ham United XI on Tuesday.

Billericay Town FC cheerleaders in rehearsal
Nicky Hayes/BTFC

Clacton pensioner admits murdering wife

A pensioner has admitted the murder of his 81-year-old wife at the home they shared.

John Chapman, 71, admitted the charge in a video-link appearance at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Chapman was arrested on 12 June following the death of his wife Jean at their home in Vista Road, Clacton-on-Sea.

He has been remanded in custody until sentencing on 8 September.

Chelmsford Crown Court

Your pictures: Some sunshine

BBC Weather Watchers

OK, so it's not the warmest of days but our BBC Weather Watchers have captured some sunny shots of Essex:

Great Chesterford

Hay stack expected to burn until mid-afternoon

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A haystack near Halstead is expected to burn for several more hours, Essex Fire Service has said.

Crews were called just before 01:30 to Greenstead Green where about 60 tonnes of hay was on fire.

It's being kept under control and is expected to burn itself out by about 15:30.

A large hay stack fire near Halstead.
Essex Fire Service

Excessive drinking blamed for rise in flight disruption

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Police at Stansted Airport removed 57 drunk or aggressive passengers from planes last year.

That's up from 42 in 2015 and 22 in 2014, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

Ch Insp Richard Phillibrown, from Essex Police, said: "Sadly a handful of people are spoiling the enjoyment of the vast majority by drinking excessively at the airport.

"We work closely with the airport operator, licensees and the businesses here to encourage responsible and appropriate behaviour."

Stansted Airport
Getty Images

Former pilot Terry Tozer said passengers who've been drinking can be a serious problem: "They can be extremely disruptive and potentially they're a hazard.

"The Air Navigation Order is very clear - it is illegal to be drunk on an aircraft."

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, between J26 for A121 and J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J27 M11, because of a broken down lorry and recovery work.

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

Large crop fire believed to be arson

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

More than 20 people called 999 to report a large crop fire near Chelmsford last night, Essex Fire Service has said.

Fire in crop field near Chelmsford.

About four hectares (40,000 sq m) of corn were alight in a field near West Hanningfield at about 21:00 and flames could be seen from the nearby A130.

The fire - which is thought to have been started deliberately - was put out by 22:00.

Forecast for the day ahead: Cloudy but dry

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It'll be a largely fine day across the BBC East region, with some sunny spells, especially at first.

However some cloud is expected to bubble up through the day, and whilst this could bring one or two light showers, most places should stay day.

Here's my full forecast:

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather where you are with BBC Weather.

Man critically injured in A12 crash

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A 40-year-old man is in a "potentially life-threatening condtion" after a crash on the A12 near Chelmsford last night, police have said.

The collision - involving a lorry, a van and a car - happened at about 22:00 and closed the northbound stretch between junctions 17 and 19.

A woman and a man, in their 60s, were treated for minor injuries.

The road fully reopened just after 07:30 and congestion has been clearing.

Congestion on A12.
View more on twitter

Good morning

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Hello and welcome to Friday’s live updates for Essex.

The weekend is just around the corner and we’ll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel for the county.

First up, we’ll have a full weather forecast shortly.

Sunrise over Chelmsford.

You can contact us at any time via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Severe accident: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe accident, before J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - Slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise before J27 M11, because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Severe accident: A12 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

A12 Essex northbound severe accident, between J17 A1114 Great Baddow Bypass and A138 J19.

A12 Essex - A12 busy but moving northbound between J17, A1114 (Howe Green) in Howe Green and Boreham Interchange in Boreham, because of an accident involving a lorry, van and car earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Roston Chase

West Indies draw their rain-affected tour match against Essex as they begin preparations for their Test series against England.

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

That's it for our live updates for today, we'll be back again from 08:00 tomorrow.

Scroll down to read the stories we've been covering today.

Don't forget, if you've got a story to share with us, click "Get involved" above.

Have a great evening.

Weather: Dry with isolated showers overnight

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

Mostly dry tonight across the BBC East region, but breezy with a mixture of clear spells and occasional cloud, perhaps bringing an isolated shower.

Staying mild with temperatures only dropping to 13C (55F).

Friday will be quite breezy, but much of the day will be dry with sunny spells and occasional cloud and just the small risk of a shower. Feeling warm in the sun with temperatures peaking at 23C (73F).

Look East weather map

Visit BBC Weather for a more detailed forecast where you are.

Paramedic praised by police for 'quick thinking and courage'

A paramedic has received a police award for helping to apprehend a drink driver.

Ch Supt Rachel Nolan presenting Barbara Shreeve with the certificate
East of England Ambulance Service

East of England Ambulance Service worker Barbara Shreeve was on a night shift in Loughton when she spotted a man driving a car "erratically".

She managed to stop the driver and called for back-up at the incident last October.

She has now been presented with a Certificate of Merit from Ch Supt Rachel Nolan, of Essex Police, for pulling over the man who was later charged with drink-driving.

Ms Shreeve said she was "surprised" to receive the award.

"I’m sure anyone would have done the same as he was swerving over the other side of the road," she said.

Ch Supt Nolan said: "I want to praise Barbara’s quick-thinking and courage to stop the vehicle. Her actions may well have prevented tragedy."

Boat owners told to remove craft from beach

Boats which have been left on a beach will be removed if their owners do not take them away, a council has warned.

Warning on a boat at Harwich beach
Tendring District Council

Tendring District Councilhas already taken away one boat from Harwich beach and has said it "will not tolerate" others being left there.

It follows complaints from residents, Harwich Town Council and Harwich Sailing Club.

Mick Skeels, the council's cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: "Harwich beach is one of our main tourism beaches and the sailing club and its compound are right next door.

"Craft should not be left there and it is not fair on others who pay to use the sailing club facilities.

“Notices have been put on a number of dinghies and one sailing boat and they have been given two weeks to remove them.

“If the owners do not do so, then the council will move in and take them away.”

Boats on the beach at Harwich
Tendring District Council
Rob Kiernan

Southend United sign defender Rob Kiernan from Rangers on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

Read more

Seagulls are 'making lives a misery'

Victoria Polley

BBC Essex

People living near a business park in Colchester have said seagulls are "making their lives a misery".

Cheryl Homewood, who lives close to Severalls Industrial Estate, said the situation has got "so bad she is ready to move out".

She said the noise the birds make wakes her up and droppings fall on cars and the surrounding area.

Rob, who also lives nearby, said the seagulls are a "nuisance 24/7".

Paul Smith, the Liberal Democrat leader of Colchester Borough Council, said the authority is taking action to try and deal with a "seagull problem" in the town.

"We are working the local businesses on Severalls and a lot of them have been cooperating with us in trying to reduce the numbers," he said.

View more on twitter

Man 'trapped under a car' taken to hospital

A man has been taken to hospital after being trapped under a car.

Emergency services were called to Cranes Close, Basildon, at about 08:30.

Fire crews freed the man, aged in his 50s, from under the car.

He was taken by ambulance to Basildon and Thurrock Hospital to be treated for head, leg and chest injuries.

The East of England Ambulance Service said his condition was not thought to be life-threatening.

CCTV shows low-loader crashing into shop front
A man is taken to hospital after a low-loader crashed into a shop and a parish council building in Essex.

Low-loader crashes into shop and parish hall

A man has been taken to hospital after a low-loader crashed into a shop and a parish hall near Chelmsford.

The crash at Maldon Road in Great Baddow

The incident happened on Tabors Hill in Great Baddow at about 08:30.

Four ambulance crews attended the scene and a man, who was conscious and breathing, was taken to Broomfield Hospital with minor injuries.

Brian Hankin, who lives in the flat above the shop, said he heard "crunching noise" from his bedroom.

"I rushed out to see what was wrong and I saw a truck had hit a wall," he said.

The crash at Maldon Road in Great Baddow
The crash at Maldon Road in Great Baddow

Cafe destroyed by freezer fire

A cafe has been destroyed after a fire broke out early this morning.

Firefighters were called to Maltings Road, Battlesbridge near Wickford, just before 03:30.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service believed the fire started on the outside of the cafe by a chest freezer which was connected to a cable reel. The cable reel had become damaged, the brigade said.

The cafe was part of an extension which was joined to other retail businesses.

Firefighters managed to stop the fire from spreading to the other businesses but the cafe was "completely destroyed".

The blaze was brought under control by 04:45.

Thatched-roof house blaze 'started in bathroom'

Kelly McCormack

BBC Radio Suffolk

Firefighters have saved a thatched-roof house from burning down after a fire broke out there this morning.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue believe the blaze in Stoke-by-Nayland started in the bathroom.

Crews were called to Scotland Street at about 08:15 and the fire was brought under control within an hour.

Firefighters from Suffolk and Essex stripped some of the thatched roof and bathroom ceiling away to stop the fire from spreading.

Fire on Scotland Street, Stoke by Nayland

BreakingMajor fire at thatched house

Firefighters are at Scotland Street in Stoke-by-Nayland to tackle a blaze at a thatched-roof property.

More on this story shortly.

Doctor charged with 118 sexual offences

A doctor who is registered at a surgery in Southend has been charged with with 118 sexual offences, the Met Police has said.

Manish Shah, of Brunel Close, Romford, is accused of 65 counts of assault by penetration and 52 counts of sexual assault.

The 47-year-old has also been charged with sexual assault on a child aged under 13 years.

Dr Shah is registered with North Avenue Surgery.

He has been released on bail and is due to appear before magistrates in Barkingside, east London, on 31 August.

Met Police Headquarters

Video: Popular songbird 'sings its heart out'

This song thrush was caught singing its heart out in the back garden of Essex Wildlife Trust worker Charlie Oliver.

Song thrushes, which the RSPB says are declining in numbers, repeat song phrases, making them distinguishable from singing blackbirds.

Watch the video below to hear what Essex Wildlife Trust describes as a "beautiful, loud song".

View more on twitter

Thursday's weather: Mostly dry and windy

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

Today's weather will be a lot nicer than yesterday's.

Instead of all that heavy rain, we may see just one or two passing light showers, especially in the west of the region.

It is, however, going to be quite windy with a blustery south-westerly wind, which will become very gusty as we head through the afternoon.

Highs of 21C (70F).

Welcome to our live coverage

Kate Scotter

BBC News

Hello and welcome back to another day of live updates.

We'll be here until 18:00, bringing you all the news, weather, travel and sport for the county.

If you have a story to share, don't hesitate to get in touch by clicking "Get involved" above.

First up, let's take a look at the weather.

Severe disruption: A130 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A130 Essex both ways severe disruption, at A1114 Great Baddow Bypass.

A130 Essex - A130 blocked at Howe Green, because of an overturned van. Traffic is coping well. On the roundabout.

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

Severe disruption: A1245 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A1245 Essex both ways severe disruption, at A127 Southend Arterial Road.

A1245 Essex - A1245 Chelmsford Road in Thundersley blocked and heavy traffic at Fairglen Interchange, because of an oil spillage.

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