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Summary

  1. Number of homicide cases in Essex more than trebles in a year, new figures show
  2. Woman, 85, drives wrong way along A12
  3. Southend Borough Council now under Conservative control after deal with UKIP
  4. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us at Essex Live today - thanks for stopping by. 

We'll leave you with this great photo from Clacton sent to BBC Weather Watchers by "Dave Virago".

Clacton
BBC Weather Watchers/Dave Virago

Don't forget, we'll resume live coverage from around the county from 08:00 on Monday.

Have a great weekend. 

Weather: Cloudy tonight with outbreaks of rain

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

It will be a cloudy night with outbreaks of rain, which will be heavy at times. 

It will be another mild night, with a southwesterly breeze. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

Weather map of the East
BBC

Saturday will be a cloudy day, with outbreaks of rain for most. However, there will be some bright or sunny intervals. Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Get the latest weekend forecast from BBC Weather.

Good luck to the 'human hamster' this weekend!

Good luck to Dean Ovel from Westcliff-on-Sea who will spend 24 hours inside a giant wooden hamster wheel to raise money for a dementia charity. 

The 40-year-old will taking on the challenge in Southend High Street raising money for the newly-launched £100,000 dementia appeal at the town's hospital.

Chocolate sabotage woman had 'no apparent grievance' with Lindt

A woman who replaced Lindt Lindor chocolates with small objects such as rubber balls, marbles and conkers had "no apparent grievance" with the company, a court was told.

Lindt
Reuters

Wendy Purser, 55, was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years at Basildon Crown Court yesterday. Prosecutors said her motives were unclear.

The judge ordered Purser, of Little Russets, Brentwood, to undergo mental health treatment after she admitted contaminating goods with intent to cause alarm or injury.

In the news: Chocolate-swap sabotage woman sentenced... Max Whitlock to miss European Championships with viral illness

If you're just joining us, here are the top stories from Essex Live this afternoon: 

  • An Essex woman who replaced chocolates with small objects such as rubber balls, marbles and conkers has been sentenced
  • Basildon world champion Max Whitlock has been withdrawn from Great Britain's artistic gymnastics European Championships squad because of a virus
  • Essex Police says it's clamping down on "nuisance motorcyclists" in Harlow because of fears that someone could be killed

Travel: Train delays between Norwich and London continue

BBC Travel

Delays on Abellio Greater Anglia trains between Liverpool Street and Norwich are continuing into the evening. 

A signal failure at Stowmarket which began at lunchtime caused delays of an hour to services but the company says this has moderated to delays of up to 30 minutes.

Essex Police gets tough on 'nuisance' motorcyclists

Essex Police is getting tough on nuisance motorcyclists in Harlow.

View more on twitter

Today, it said it would seize and maybe even crush any motorbikes, quad bikes or mopeds being ridden illegally after receiving 121 complaints in the space of two months. 

The local council has also been granted a town-wide injunction banning gatherings of such bikes over the next 10 months.  

Nick Browne signs new two-year deal with Essex

The Essex batsman Nick Browne has signed a new two-year contract with the club.   

Nick Browne
Getty Images

It will see him extend his stay at the County Ground until the end of the 2018 season. 

Earlier this week the 25-year-old hit a career best of 255 runs against Derbyshire at Chelmsford. 

Watch: Lorry forced to swerve as woman, 85, drives wrong way up A12

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

The moment an 85-year-old woman drove down A12 the wrong way has been captured on dashcam.

The Essex Chronicle has uploaded the footage to its website. In it the vehicle can be seen passing a lorry and other irritated motorists who toot their horns. 

You can watch the video on the Chronicle's website here.

Post box installed a mile off the shore of Southend

A post box has been installed 1.34 miles (2.16km) off the shore of Southend.

Post box at the end of the pier
Southend Borough Council

All letters sent from the working red Royal Mail box, which is located at the end of the world's longest pleasure pier, will earn its own “Southend Pier” frank mark.

Your pictures: A duck in a flower box along a Chelmsford river

Thanks to Pete who sent us think photo of a duck resting in a flower box in Chelmsford yesterday. Looks comfy, doesn't he? 

Duck in a flower box
Pete Pottle

Feel free to share your pictures with us via Twitter, Facebook or email

Eddie Izzard spotted at Birchanger Services

Victoria Williams

BBC Essex

Looked who stopped off at Birchanger Services on the M11 yesterday afternoon! 

Eddie Izzard and Katie Myers
Katie Myers

Comedian Eddie Izzard popped in while on his way to a show in Cambridge. 

Fan Katie Myers, who served him in one of the services' stores, said: "I told him I named my dog after him, he said he was 'honoured'."

Max Whitlock withdraws from European championships due to 'viral illness'

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Some news in this lunchtime: Essex gymnast Max Whitlock has withdrawn from Great Britain's squad for the European Gymnastics Championships in Berne. 

The world champion will not compete due to a viral illness. 

Max Whitlock
Getty Images

Weather: Fine and dry this afternoon

BBC Weather

It will be fine and mostly dry this afternoon, with bright or sunny spells. It'll feel pleasantly warm in the sunshine. However, cloud will increase from the west later in the day. 

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

Weather map for Essex
BBC

Get the latest forecast for your area from BBC Weather.

In the news: Essex homicide rates treble... Southend Borough Council now under Conservative control

If you're just joining us, here are the top stories we've covered so far on Essex Live:

  • Figures obtained by BBC Essex show the number of homicides in the county has more than trebled
  • Southend Borough Council is now under Conservative control after the Tories struck a deal with UKIP
  • An appeal has been launched to find the owner of a cat that travelled 70 miles from Tilbury to Suffolk on the chassis of a lorry

T20 Blast gets under way in Essex tonight

BBC Sport

The domestic cricket scene is set to burst into life as the glitz and glamour of the T20 Blast gets under way tonight.

Essex will take on Surrey at the County Ground in Chelmsford from 19:00.

Adam Milne
Getty Images

If you're heading down there, here are some international players to look out for in the Essex side: 

  • Adam Milne, New Zealand (pictured)
  • Jesse Ryder, New Zealand 
  • Wahab Riaz, Pakistan

Southend's new Conservative leader sings to full council

Southend Borough Council's newly-elected Conservative leader started the job with a bit of a sing-song last night. 

John Lamb probably won't be the next Justin Bieber, but he gave it his best shot...

Suspended sentence for woman who swapped chocolates for small objects

A woman has been given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years after admitting swapping Lindt chocolate truffles for small objects at four stores in Essex.

Waitrose Billericay
Google

Wendy Purser, 55, of Little Russets, Brentwood, admitted contaminating goods with intent to cause alarm or injury, Basildon Crown Court heard.

The court was told Purser put people at risk of choking when she committed the offensives at Asda Living, Lakeside; Wilko, Brentwood; Waitrose, Billericay (pictured); and Asda Eastgate, Basildon between 10 March and 16 May 2015.

Any left-arm spinners about tomorrow in the Burnham area?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Sounds like fellow Essex lad Jack could do with your help - he's been in contact with our friends at Test Match Special... 

View more on twitter

Another car driving down the A12 the wrong way

View more on twitter

We're just trying to find out a bit more information...

Cat takes 70-mile road trip from Essex to Suffolk clinging to a lorry

You may have heard of the book and film The Incredible Journey about three pets who make an epic journey in search of their masters.

Well, a cat has had quite a trip of its own after it travelled 70 miles (113km) from Essex to Suffolk, clinging to the chassis of a lorry.

Dusty the Cat
RSPCA

Dusty was discovered by staff at a retailer in Cotton, near Stowmarket, after the HGV, which had travelled from Tilbury Docks, stopped to make a delivery. 

The RSPCA thinks she could be local to Tilbury, and is asking anyone missing a white cat to get in touch.

Colchester teenager sheds six stone to reach slimming competition finals

Congratulations to Essex teenager Jack Harris who has lost 6st 3lbs (39.4kg) to reach the finals of a national slimming competition.

Jack before and after
Slimming World

The 18-year-old from Colchester made the last 30 of Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year 2016 out of all the 16- to 21-year-olds who attend the club's 14,000 groups. 

He went from 17st 9lbs (112kg) to 11st 6lbs (72.5kg) in just over a year.

Travel: Trains between London and Norwich face delays of up to an hour

BBC Travel

Trains between Norwich and London are subject to delays of up to an hour because of a signal failure at Stowmarket. 

Abellio Greater Anglia says it's likely to be an issue until lunchtime.

Conservatives take control of Southend Borough Council

Simon Dedman

BBC Essex political reporter

Now, a look at a story that came in overnight.

Southend Borough Council is now under Conservative control after the Tories struck a deal with UKIP. 

Full council
BBC

Britain's first Independent-led unitary administration was defeated by a single vote at the meeting of the full council. 

It means the Conservatives have control of the council for the first time in two years.

Woman, 85, drives wrong way down A12

An 85-year-old woman drove the wrong way down the A12 yesterday afternoon, and police say it was a "miracle" nobody was killed.

A12
Google

She had been driving towards Colchester on the London-bound carriageway when motorists alerted the force.

The woman surrendered her licence when police found her vehicle at Feering at about 14:30.

Weather: Dry with bright or sunny spells today

Aisling Creevey

BBC Look East weather

After a rather cloudy and murky start to the day, it will be mostly fine and dry, with bright or sunny spells. It will feel pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

You can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast from BBC Weather.

Assistant chief constable: Homicides cases 'huge rise'

The Assistant Chief Constable of Essex Police Steven Worron says the force has seen a "huge rise" in the number of homicide cases in one year. 

The Assistant Chief Constable of Essex Police Steven Worron
BBC

Out of the 35 homicides, 15 people were "killed by partners or ex-partners" between 2015/16.

"The reality is only two of those murders were committed by a stranger", he said.  "My plea to anybody who is a victim [of domestic abuse] is to speak out".

More on Essex homicide figures

In 2015/16 Essex Police dealt with 34 separate homicide cases in the county, totalling 35 deaths. 

Out of those, 25 were classed as murder offences, six as manslaughter and four are no longer being treated as suspicious. 

Fifteen people were killed by people who knew them: either family members, partners or acquaintances. 

Police line
BBC

Homicides in Essex treble in one year

Figures obtained by BBC Essex show the number of homicides in the county has more than trebled.

Homicides
BBC

Homicide offences cover both murder and manslaughter.

Welcome to Essex Live

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to Essex Live.

We start this morning with figures obtained by BBC Essex that show the number of homicides in the county has more than trebled in the past year. More on that shortly.

We've also got this morning's weather coming up shortly, and the day's other news.