Essex

Essex Police present appeal sees 1,450 gifts donated

Essex Police officers with a pile of presents Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The Tendring district police team received 1,453 presents as part of their appeal

A police force has described its community as "phenomenal" after an appeal for 164 gifts saw them receive more than 1,450.

Essex Police's district team in Tendring asked the public to donate presents for vulnerable children who might not receive any.

The idea came from new district commander Ch Insp Lily Benbow.

The presents have now been wrapped by volunteers and will be given to families in time for Christmas.

A tree was put up outside Clacton police station with envelopes each giving an age of a child for people to donate a gift too.

Ch Insp Benbow said the response had been "phenomenal" and presents had overrun the top floor of the station.

"I told my team not to worry as we would probably get 40 to 50 and don't worry about the logistics, I would come in and help wrap them up," she said.

"But my goodness within the first few days the presents were rolling in. We did a final count and we have been given 1,453 presents."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The presents will go to children in the district who may not otherwise get one for Christmas

Ch Insp Benbow, who joined from the Met Police where there had been a similar project, said some families had brought their children in to deliver presents giving them a positive first experience of the police station.

"I've only been in post a short period and I've been amazed by the generosity of local people and businesses," she said.

"I'm taking my policing hat off and putting my Santa hat on to help deliver these presents to children who may have experienced many Christmases without a present."

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