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  1. Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information about the death of Southend woman Angela Millington
  2. Essex Police have rebailed a man and a woman arrested following the death of a young girl on a bouncy castle in Harlow
  3. Braintree Town is preparing for a match that could put them on the road to promotion to the Football League
  4. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Thursday at 08:00

Live Reporting

By Kate Williams

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us today at Essex Live - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with the latest news, including the election results across the county.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Clacton helter-skelter renovation work could top £100,000

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

Renovation work to the Clacton helter-skelter could cost more than £100,000, but the pier owner says it's worth every penny. 

Clacton Pier's helter skelter

Billy Ball says the day in 2013 the helter-skelter was damaged was one of the saddest ever, and that the iconic slide is integral to the success of the pier.

The helter-skelter reopened to the public last weekend. 

Speedway: Hammers hoping to increase lead

The Lakeside Hammers can increase their lead at the top of Speedway's Elite League tonight.

Fresh from a convincing win at Belle Vue last night, they travel to Swindon.

They've named an unchanged side.

View more on twitter

Weather: Fine and dry with lots of sunshine

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Tonight it will be staying fine and dry with long spells of sunshine and light easterly winds. Lows of 6C (43F). Pollen levels will stay high.

Weather graphic shows sunshine tomorrow

Tomorrow will be another fine and dry day with high temperatures. High level cloud in the afternoon will turn the sunshine hazy later, but a very pleasant afternoon. Highs of 20C (68F). 

Braintree supporters no longer stranded

The Braintree Town Supporters' Trust fans are now on their way. They have a new coach and are off again to Grimsby. 

"We're relieved that we're on our way. We may just miss the kick-off," said  Andrew Freemantle.  

View more on twitter

Southend minibus fire

A minibus has been badly damaged in a fire in Southend. 

The blaze happened in Stanier Close just before 13:00. An electrical fault is being blamed. 

There were no passengers on board the bus at the time. 

Latest headlines: Football fans stranded... Minibus fire in Southend

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

The latest headlines:

  • A group of Braintree Town fans are stranded in Lincolnshire this afternoon as they make their way to one of the biggest matches in the club's history
  • A woman has been charged after an elderly man was robbed of £4 in Harlow
  • A minibus has been badly damaged in a fire in Southend

Braintree Town: Trio could be in starting line-up

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Braintree Town boss Danny Cowley has several decisions to make ahead of their National League play-off semi-final tie at Grimsby tonight.

Danny Cowley, Braintree United
Getty Images

Sean Marks, Taylor Miles and Dan Sparkes are among those looking to be recalled to the starting line-up.

The Iron are bidding to reach a Wembley final and a place in the Football League for the first time in their history. There's commentary of the match on BBC Essex Football Extra from 18:30 tonight.

Braintree fans stranded in Lincolnshire

BBC Essex

A group of Braintree Town fans are stranded in Lincolnshire this afternoon as they make their way to one of the biggest matches in the club's history.

View more on twitter

The Iron are looking to secure a place in the Football League. Tonight, they're playing Grimsby Town in the first leg of their National League play-off semi-final. 

Andrew Freemantle, who's the chairman of the Braintree Town Supporters Trust, said despite the coach problems they are still hoping to get to the ground for kick-off. 

Disruption to train services

Engineering problems are affecting Greater Anglia trains.  

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Dispersal order to dissuade car 'cruisers' at Pitsea

A dispersal order has been issued in a bid to dissuade a group of car 'cruisers' who police believe were planning to meet at Pitsea retail park this weekend.

Graphic showing the dispersal order
Essex Police

The dispersal order means police officers will be able to move people on if they are causing anti-social behaviour within the area defined by the order.

Robbie Cowling: Colchester's recruitment policy could be better

BBC Essex

Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling admits his player recruitment policy needs to improve.

Colchester United
Getty Images

"It's not been good enough and it needs to get better," he said.

The U's, who have been relegated to League Two, appointed John McGreal as their new manager yesterday.

Travel: Diversion as A127 closed at West Horndon

The A127 is closed with long delays due to a serious collision involving three vehicles at the A128 for West Horndon.

A diversion is in place via the exit slip roads, around the Halfway House roundabout above, then back down along the entry slip roads. Stay up-to-date here.

View more on twitter

Danny Cowley: Game of players' careers tonight

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley says their match at Grimsby tonight is the biggest game of the players' careers.

Danny Cowley
Getty Images

The sides meet in the first leg of the National League play-off semi-final, with the winner due to play a Wembley final.

There's commentary of the match on BBC Essex Football Extra from 18:30.

Essex mum and writer: Car seat regulations unclear for emergency journeys

A parenting writer from Chelmsford has told BBC Essex she's concerned new regulations on car seats for children aren't clear enough for emergency journeys.

Small boy in car seat

The government has confirmed that legislation is coming, but it hasn't yet been finalised. 

Alice Langley, who writes a column in the Southend Echo called 'An Essex Mum', says: "In the new legislation I haven't been able to find anything about what happens picking up an extra child, or if it's an emergency," she said. 

Teenager still in hospital after motorbike crash

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

A 17-year-old boy remains in hospital receiving treatment for a serious head injury after a motorbike crash in Grays last month. 

His passenger, who is 16, had surgery on a fractured knee. The crash happened in Wood View Road on 12 April.

Travel: Three-vehicle crash closes part of A127 near Brentwood

There are problems on the A127 at West Hordon near Brentwood this afternoon after a three-vehicle crash. Be careful if you're heading in that direction.

View more on twitter

Weather: Dry and warm

BBC Weather

This afternoon will be dry, warm and mostly sunny. Light winds will peg the temperatures back a little in the east.

Spring scene
Weather Watchers: Youcantbecirrus

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

Thanks to BBC Weather Watcher "youcantbecirrus" for sending in this gorgeous picture from South Hanningfield just before lunchtime today.

In the news: Braintree Town prepare for key tie... Two arrested over bouncy castle death rebailed

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

If you're just joining us, here's the news from the county this afternoon: 

  • Braintree Town is preparing for a match that could put them on the road to promotion to the Football League
  • Essex Police have rebailed a man and a woman arrested following the death of a young girl on a bouncy castle in Harlow
  • A woman has been charged after robbing an elderly man of £4 in Harlow

Cricket: Cook signs new contract

England test captain Alastair Cook has signed a new two-year contract with Essex.

Alastair Cook

Cook has scored 500 runs in the first four matches of the County Championship season, including three centuries.

He's now off to play for England in the forthcoming test series against Sri Lanka.

Good news from forecaster Dan Holley

Braintree fan on tonight's match: 'Maybe it's our turn'

A Braintree Town fan who has been supporting the team for 70 years is hoping they can reach a Wembley final for the first time in their history.

Tom Woodward

The Iron are playing Grimsby Town in the first leg of the National League play-off semi-final tonight. The teams meet again on Sunday, with the winner of the tie moving on to play for a place in the Football League.

Tom Woodley said: "We keep saying if Leicester can do it, so can we. But Grimsby haven't beaten us yet, so maybe that might be our turn."

Frinton security firm 'scaring' residents with evening visits

A private security firm paid by people to patrol the streets of a seaside town has apologised after some residents were "scared" by staff visiting homes after dark.

AGS Security

AGS carries out patrols in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, at a cost of £2 a week.

AGS Security

Security staff 'scaring' residents

A private security firm paid by people to patrol the streets of a seaside town apologises after some residents were "scared" by staff visiting homes after dark.

Read more

Woman charged for robbing man in his 70s of £4 in Harlow

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

A woman has been charged after an elderly man was robbed of £4 in Harlow.

The 76-year-old was robbed while walking in an underpass between Church Road and Latton Common Road on Christmas Eve.

She was due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court.

MP calls for tighter sentencing for knife crime offenders

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

Colchester MP Will Quince has urged the government to tighten sentencing guidelines for knife crime offenders in the wake of the conviction of schoolboy killer James Fairweather.

Wil Quince

He said: "Where an under-16 with a previous knife-related conviction is found to be using a knife in any violent crime or offence involving threatening another person, I believe there should be a mandatory detention and training order.

"Where an under-16 with no previous convictions commits a threatening or violent crime involving a knife, then there should be a mandatory psychiatric assessment in addition to their sentence."

Colchester coach admits new job will be a tough challenge

Newly-appointed Colchester United manager John McGreal says he knows the job is going to be a challenge.

John McGreal

"It's not an easy job, but I think it's a great position at the minute," he said.

"We've got a great fan base... when we get this ground 'rocking', it can 'rock'. I think starting really positive, try and be on the front foot, get everyone behind us - we need everyone pulling in the right direction and hopefully moving this club forward."

Fraud allegations investigated over building work

BBC Essex

Essex Police say they're investigating two allegations of fraud after residents paid for building work that has not been carried out in Harwich. Two people both paid a man to carry out work in their kitchens and bathrooms earlier this year, but the work was never started.

Tiny kitten was found 'duct taped' into shoebox in South Ockenden

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

A six-week-old kitten was found in a shoebox stuck shut with duct tape in South Ockendon, the RSPCA says.

Loubi the cat

The black and white cat, named Loubi, was found at a bus stop in South Road. 

Officials say the kitten is in a very good condition and is being rehomed shortly. 

Women and dogs escape burning Land Rover in Springfield

Essex Chronicle

Essex Chronicle

Two women and three dogs escaped a Land Rover shortly before it burst into flames.

Grays man charged with making indecent images

BBC Essex

A Grays man has been charged with two counts of making indecent images of children. 

The 40-year-old was arrested in July last year and will appear before magistrates in Basildon on 2 June.

£10K reward to catch Angela Millington's killer

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the death of Southend woman Angela Millington.

Foulness Island / Angela Millington
Essex Police

The remains of the 33-year-old were found washed up on Foulness Island in June 2014. She was last seen alive four months earlier. 

No-one has been charged in connection with her death. Crimestoppers is offering a reward in the hope that people with information about how she died will come forward.

Leicester 'betting gaffe' story proves popular

Jodie Smith

BBC News

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of days, you will have seen a lot of coverage of Leicester City's Premier League triumph.

The knock-on effect is still being felt days after they were declared champions - with a story we ran on Wednesday about two Essex men's betting gaffe netting them £20,000 still in the Most Read section of the BBC website.

Mitchell Baldock and Jordan Wright

Jordan Wright (right), from Stanford-le-Hope, "thought Betfred had messed up the odds" for Leicester's first game of the season, so decided to place a bet to try to take advantage of the 2000/1 mistake.

But the bet was actually for the Foxes to win the league, rather than the match. He convinced his friend Mitchell Baldock to follow suit - and they both won £10,000.

Bail extended over bouncy castle death

Two people arrested over the death of a girl at Harlow Town Park in Essex have had their bail extended.

Summer Grant, 7, from Norwich, died after being swept away on a bouncy castle on 26 March.

Summer Grant
Essex Police

A 24-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man, both from Cambridgeshire, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence. They have been re-bailed until 13 September. 

Voting begins in Essex

Voting has begun in elections being held in Essex.

Seats on Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Harlow, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Colchester, Epping Forest and Rochford councils are being contested.

Ballot box

A police and crime commissioner for Essex will also be elected.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 and will close at 22:00.

Heroic shopkeeper describes how he fought off knife-wielding robber

Basildon Echo

A shopkeeper told how he wrestled a 10 inch blade away from a knife-wielding thug during a terrifying daylight robbery attempt.  

Weather: Dry and warm

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It's a chilly start but it will become a dry, warm and mostly sunny day. 

Winds will stay light throughout. Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

BBC Weather has the latest updates for where you live.

Travel: Delays on M25, M11 and A127

BBC Travel

For those heading out of the county, there's 10 miles of delays on the M25 anticlockwise due to an earlier crash around Potters Bar. All lanes have reopened, but delays remain.

Traffic is heavier than usual on the M11 southbound between junction six for the M25 and junction four for the North Circular.

One lane is also blocked and there is queuing traffic on the London-bound A127 Southend Arterial Road in Basildon, at the Fortune of War roundabout, because of a crash involving four vehicles.

Headlines: Reward over death of Southend woman... Polls open across Essex

David Keller

BBC News

Here are this morning's top stories:

  • Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information about the death of Southend woman Angela Millington
  • Voting has begun in Essex to elect local councillors and the county's next police and crime commissioner
  • Following the appointment of John McGreal as first-team coach at Colchester United, chairman Robbie Cowling says he's failed to get the right players into the club and needs to improve his recruitment in the future

Welcome to Essex Live

David Keller

BBC News

Good morning on this sunny spring day.

We're back once more with the latest news, sport, weather and travel for Essex until 18:00.

The latest news headlines coming shortly. In the meantime, if you want to get involved, send us your stories and pictures via email, Twitter or Facebook.