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  1. A parish council bans bouncy castles after a young girl's death in Harlow
  2. Six deaths in 10 months on a bypass near Clacton has led a council to call for a safety probe
  3. A Tendring councillor has apologised after using an extremely offensive swear word at a member of the public
  4. Updates on Thursday, 7 April 2016
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Friday at 08:00

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's about it from us at Essex Live today - thanks for joining us.

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news for the county. 

Have a great evening.

Weather: Sunny spells and scattered showers continue

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

This evening there should be sunny spells and scattered showers with some becoming heavy with hail and thunder. A few will persist through the night until they become more sparse. A low of 1C (34F) with a risk of light frost.

Regional weather map
BBC Weather

Tomorrow will be mostly dry, but a few showers will develop through the morning and into the afternoon, with a high temperature of around 12C (54F) and light south-westerly winds.

For a more detailed forecast go to BBC Weather.

Photos released of 'worst' ransacked house

Photos of thousands of pounds worth of "mindless" damage wreaked by burglars at an Essex home have been released by police.

Bed broken by thieves
Essex Police

Thieves ransacked the house in The Rising, Billericay, last month and pulled a fireplace off the wall and broke up bed frames as they scoured for items.

Designer watches, including a Breitling; a Tiffany necklace and an engagement ring were among the items stolen in the burglary, described by a detective as the "worst" he'd seen.

Parish council bans bouncy castles after girl's death

A parish council close to the town where a seven-year-old girl was killed after a bouncy castle she was playing on blew away has banned inflatables.

Summer Grant
Essex Police

North Weald Bassett Parish Council said it will stop bouncy castles being set up at its summer fete and hall in Thornham Common until an inquiry into Summer Grant's death has finished and any recommendations made.

Summer, from Norwich, died after the bouncy castle she was playing on was blown across Harlow Town Park by a strong gust of wind on 26 March.

Headlines: Parish council bans bouncy castles... Calls for road safety probe

Here are the top stories from today:

  • A parish council near a town where a seven-year-old girl was fatally injured on a bouncy castle has banned inflatables
  • Six deaths in 10 months on a bypass near Clacton has led a council to call for a safety inquiry
  • A councillor who used a highly offensive swear word will not be immediately sacked from the authority's cabinet, its leader says

Council wants safety probe after road deaths

Six deaths in 10 months on a stretch of road near Clacton has spurred calls for a safety investigation.

Neil Stock

Tendring District Council wants the county council's highways unit to examine why the crashes are happening on the A133 bypass between Weeley and Clacton.

Council leader Neil Stock said councillors had unanimously agreed to get a "technical expert appraisal of what the problem is and why these accidents keep happening".

Council says hole in Leigh to be fixed today

A hole, which was thought to have been a possible sinkhole, has been confirmed as a “standard defect” by Southend Borough Council.

Hole repairs
Southend Borough Council

The council took to Twitter on Wednesday to “allay fears” over a hole that opened up in Leigh Broadway earlier that day, believed to be a “small void above a gas pipe”.

The road is open to traffic and the council has said it hopes it will be fixed today.

Suspects released on bail after Great Baddow stabbing fight

Police have bailed three men questioned over a fight in which people were stabbed earlier this week.

Composite of police officers and car at Readers Court

Three men suffered stab wounds and were among a total of nine people arrested after the disturbance in Readers Court, Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, on Monday night.

All those arrested have been released on police bail and inquiries will continue.

Junior doctors in Colchester continue to fight against forced through contracts

Daily Gazette

Junior doctors said they were fighting for fairness and patient safety as they took to picket lines for a fourth time over new contract disputes.  

Sport: Payne contract talks at 'impasse'

BBC Sport

Southend United manager Phil Brown says contract talks with highly-rated midfielder Jack Payne have stalled.

Jack Payne
Rex Features

The 21-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has scored eight goals in 30 appearances for the League One club this season.

"If anything, Jack Payne's contract details have fallen on deaf ears at the moment," said Brown.

Jack Payne

Payne contract talks at 'impasse'

Southend United manager Phil Brown says contract talks with highly-rated midfielder Jack Payne have stalled.

Read more

Caught on camera: Footage shows gang rip ATM from Coggeshall Post Office in Essex evening raid

Essex Chronicle

Candid footage of masked robbers ram raiding a village post office with a JCB before screeching off into the night has been obtained by the Chronicle.

Sport: Press day at Essex County Cricket Club... and it's cold

Not the ideal day for short sleeves...

View more on twitter

Christian NHS worker loses appeal

A Christian NHS occupational therapist has lost her appeal against a ruling suspending her for giving a religious book to a Muslim colleague.

Victoria Wasteney
Dominic Harris/PA

Victoria Wasteney, 39, of Epping, Essex, was found guilty and suspended for nine months by her employer in 2014 of "harassing and bullying" a work friend, although she said she had "no idea" she was upset.

She challenged the decision by East London NHS Foundation Trust at an employment tribunal but it ruled her employer had not discriminated against her and while a judge ruled she could appeal the decision, it has been dismissed at a London hearing today.

Swearing councillor will not be sacked from cabinet at the moment

The leader of Tendring District Council has said he does not immediately plan to sack from his cabinet a councillor who swore at a man filming him in the street.

Michael Skeels on the video
YouTube/Bard Guido

Coastal Independents councillor Michael Skeels - who holds the leisure portfolio - has apologised after he directed a highly offensive word at former UKIP activist William Hones who approached him while he walked to a meeting.

Opposition councillors have called for him to resign and Mr Skeels will face a standards panel. Conservative council leader Neil Stock said: "I am not going to sack him yet… he has made a full apology and I am going to wait and see what the standards committee recommends before I take any further action."

Weather: Sunny spells turning showery

BBC Weather

This afternoon we should see a mix of sunny spells and scattered showers, turning heavy with hail and thunder at times.

Weather chart
BBC Weather

It will remain breezy with a maximum temperature of 10C (50F).

A full weather forecast for your part of the county can be found at BBC Weather.

John 'Goldfinger' Palmer murder probe: Joggers come forward

Police investigating the murder of a notorious criminal in Essex have traced two potential witnesses after releasing a photo of two joggers yesterday.

John "Goldfinger" Palmer, 65, who allegedly amassed a fortune in a time-share scam, was shot six times in the chest at his South Weald home in June. 

Officers said the women joggers at Weald Country Park have come forward after spotting themselves in the photo.

Travel: Road lane blocked in Chelmsford

BBC Travel

A broken-down vehicle has blocked a lane on the westbound A1060 Parkway in Chelmsford between the Victoria Road South and Coval Lane junctions.

Headlines: Swearing councillor apologises... Joggers come forward in 'Goldfinger' murder case

Here are the top stories from Essex this lunchtime:

Crash witnesses asked to come forward

Police are appealing for witnesses after a car hit a tree and two female occupants were hurt.

Hartswood Road

It happened on Hartswood Road, Warley, Brentwood, just before 16:00 on Wednesday and the road was closed for nearly five hours.

The women, who were in a black Mercedes, were taken to separate hospitals in London and Romford.

Robbers pulled fireplace from wall in 'worst' burglary

Burglars pulled a fireplace out of a wall and broke up bed frames as they ransacked a house and caused the "worst" damage a detective had ever seen.

Box of stolen watches
Essex Police

The house in The Rising, Billericay, was targeted by thieves who smashed their way through a patio door last month.

Police have now released photos of some of the stolen items, including designer watches, a Tiffany necklace, a diamond engagement ring and computer devices.

£1.7m cash for county to plug pothole problem

The Department for Transport has announced Essex is to be handed nearly £1.7m to deal with potholes.  

Pothole in road

The county is thought to have about 30,000 of the holes and the council has been allocated the cash from the government's national Pothole Action Fund.

Swearing Tendring councillor feels 'ashamed'

A Tendring councillor who used a highly offensive swear word while being filmed by a man in the street said he was "ashamed" for losing his temper.

Coastal Independents councillor Michael Skeels - who holds the leisure portfolio - was filmed swearing at William Hones, a former UKIP activist, while walking into a meeting.

"People know I'm a hard-working councillor; they always get a response from me. I apologise to those people profusely. I let myself down," he said. Mr Hones has been approached for a comment.

Swearing councillor faces calls to resign

Simon Dedman

BBC Essex

There are calls for the resignation of a Tendring councillor after he called a man a highly offensive swear word.

Michael Skeels
Tendring District Council

Michael Skeels, who left UKIP to support the ruling Conservatives and formed a new group called Coastal Independents, was walking into a meeting when he was confronted by former UKIP activist William Hones, who was filming him.

The Conservative opposition, Labour and an independent councillor want him to resign, with Labour group leader Ivan Henderson saying: "You can't speak to people like that and hold public office." 

Mr Skeels is due to face a standards panel over his behaviour after a member of the public filed an official complaint.

Exclusive: Couple deported back to China despite campaign

BBC Essex

A couple have been deported back to China after an appeal to stay in UK was turned down, despite a campaign to let them stay, the BBC Essex can exclusively reveal.

We have previously told you about the story of Dong yan Xue and Husheng Tang, who lived in Colchester. The had outstayed their student visas and had a plea for political asylum turned down. 

We have learned the pair are now back in China. We'll bring you more on this story later.

Travel: Long delays on the M25 around Lakeside

BBC Travel

A broken down vehicle has been causing long delays on the exit slip road to the roundabout on the M25 anti-clockwise at the junction 30 for the A13 at Lakeside, with congestion to junction 31 for the A1306 at Thurrock.

Dual carriageway call for road into Clacton

A Conservative district councillor has raised the possibility of turning the A133 near Clacton into a dual carriageway.

Mike Brown is calling for action after there were six deaths on the stretch between Weeley and Clacton in the last 10 months.

Clacton sign

Councillor apologises for swearing at man in the street

A Tendring councillor has apologised for using a highly offensive swear word to a man in the street.

Michael Skeels was filmed swearing at William Hones, who used to be a member of UKIP. Mr Skeels left UKIP to join the Conservatives before forming the Coastal Independents.

In a message to fellow councillors, Mr Skeels said he recognised the language was "unacceptable", adding he had written to Mr Hones to apologise. He has been approached for further comment.

Warwick University student from Colchester is victim of racist slur

Daily Gazette

A university has launched an investigation after a student from Colchester was subjected to racist abuse.

Headlines: Councillor apologises for swear word... Couple deported back to China despite campaign

Sonia Watson

BBC Essex

  • A Tendring councillor has apologised after using an extremely offensive swear word at a member of the public
  • A couple have been deported back to China after an appeal to stay in UK was turned down, despite a campaign to let them stay
  • A Conservative councillor has raised the possibility of turning the A133 near Clacton into a dual carriageway

Weather: Bright start, mixed later

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

It will be a bright start to the day, but will become cloudy across Essex through the morning, with outbreaks of patchy light rain arriving from the north. 

This will clear away to the south to leave a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Welcome to Essex Live

David Keller

BBC News

Thanks for joining us. We'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel for Essex, so stay posted.

If you want to get in touch with any stories or pictures, send them to us via email, Twitter or Facebook.