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Car in sinkhole 'was being driven'

A car fell into a sinkhole in Essex
Ricci Fothergill

It is believed that the car that fell into a sinkhole in Essex was being driven when the hole opened up, although the driver is said to have escaped uninjured.

Gordon Humphrey, who lives nearby, told the PA news agency he and his wife heard a bang.

He told the Press Association they initially believed a fence panel had popped out, before seeing a car in the hole.

"You could hear the water bubbling, see the taillights and there was a smell of gas," he said.

Mr Humphrey said his wife Lesley, 59, called the emergency services and they were told to leave their house before it was later declared safe to return.

The fire service said they made the scene safe by about 04:00 GMT before handing the scene over to Anglian Water.

Anglian Water said it was working out whether any of its pipes had been damaged.

Car falls into Essex sinkhole

A car fell into a sinkhole in Essex
It has not been confirmed if anyone was in the vehicle at the time it dropped into the sinkhole

A car has fallen into a sinkhole in Essex and six homes have been evacuated due to "unstable ground".

The car became trapped in Hatch Road, Pilgrims Hatch after the collapse in the early hours of Monday.

The fire service said there had been reports a sewer had partially collapsed but the exact cause of the sinkhole is not yet known.

Fire crews worked for more than two hours at the scene before handing over to Anglian Water.

Read more here.

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'The non-surprise, surprise' Tory wins

Simon Dedman

BBC Essex political reporter

The non-surprise, surprise.

Every seat in Essex has stayed Conservative.

Their vote is up across the county.

Thurrock, one of the marginalist of marginal seats in the country, has gone from a majority of 345 to 11,500.

The Tories got more than half the vote in Colchester, with the Lib Dems a distant third.

Their chances of winning this seat back seems as distant as the next general election is now with Boris Johnson on course for the biggest Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher.

Tories retain all seats in Essex

With John Whittingdale's return in Maldon, that means all 18 Essex constituencies remain blue.

Jackie Doyle-Price in Thurrock and Will Quince in Colchester were among the bigger winners, solidifying their majorities.

In Ms Doyle-Price's case, she has increased her majority from 345 to 11,482.