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  1. Lorry driver told he must face Crown court over crash involving steam engine and bus
  2. Firefighters at scene of scrapyard blaze in Colchester
  3. Man arrested in Weeley on suspicion of making threats to kill, possession of firearm and drink-driving
  4. Updates on Thursday, 28 July 2016
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us at Essex Live today. 

Our main story today has been the scrapyard fire in Colchester, which is now under control but caused traffic disruption across the town earlier.

A lorry driver was told he must face Crown court over a crash involving a steam engine and bus, and a man has been arrested in Weeley on suspicion of making threats to kill, possession of a firearm and drink-driving.

If you want to catch up you can scroll back through our coverage through the day.

We'll have more updates tomorrow morning from 08:00. 

Have a great evening. 

Weather: Outbreaks of rain, some thundery downpours

BBC Weather

Cloudy with outbreaks of rain this evening, some maybe heavy or thundery. Showers will fade overnight to leave some clear spells. Lows of 12C (54F). 

Weather map

Friday will start dry and bright with sunny spells. Top temperature of 22C (72F). 

BBC Weather has more local details.

Max Whitlock reveals more about his training as he looks ahead to Rio

London 2012 Olympic medallist Max Whitlock was just a teenager when he unexpectedly won team and individual bronze.

Since then he has struggled with illness, but he's also won a range of other medals. Reporter Katherine Downes met him at his training base in Essex where he told her more about his training regime.

Max Whitlock

Scrapyard fire now 'under control'

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The scrapyard fire in Colchester is under control but three fire crews will continue to damp down until early evening.

"Firefighters will remain at the scene for at least another three hours checking all the hot spots are cooled and the incident is safe," a Fire Service spokesman said. 

Haven Road remains closed to traffic.

Environment Agency monitors impact of scrapyard fire in Colchester

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The Environment Agency has inspected the area around a scrapyard fire in Colchester and given the conduct of the fire service its approval after concerns were raised about the impact of foam and water used to fight the flames.

Colchester scrap yard fire

"We understand the fire has largely been put out now. From our perspective, we are satisfied that the water and foam used to tackle the blaze has not caused any significant impact on the environment," a spokesperson said. 

"The site operator has now arranged for a tanker to pump out and remove residual contaminated water/foam from the site. 

"For certain major incidents we can deploy our air quality monitoring equipment, but this was not considered necessary in this case due to the relatively short duration of the fire."

Home Office criticised for reducing immigration staff at Essex ports

BBC Essex

Border and immigration staff normally based at Harwich and Tilbury ports are being transferred on a day-to-day basis to Dover, Heathrow and busy south of England airports. 

Harwich border

The ISU union has criticised the Home Office for the policy, saying it is a threat to security at those ports where staff levels are reduced temporarily. 

A Home Office spokesman said staff numbers varied according to estimated demand levels at the various ports.

"Security is not compromised when staff are deployed from other ports or airports, it is maintained. Border Force has been set up to be agile, flexible and intelligence-led, deploying quickly according to need," the spokesman said.

Relief fire crews take over at scrapyard fire

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Four new fire crews have taken over tackling a fire in a large pile of scrapped cars in Colchester.

Colchester Hythe fire
Essex Police

The fire service was alerted at 09:43 to the fire in the breakers' yard in Hythe after callers reported a large cloud of black smoke. 

No casualties are reported but changeover crews were expected to spend the next few hours at the site, the fire service said. 

Lunchtime headlines: Fire engines tackle scrapyard blaze... Sea rescue prompts warning to swimmers

BBC Essex

If you have just joined us here is a taste of the main news so far from BBC Essex:

  • Six fire engines tackle blaze at Colchester scrapyard which has led to traffic congestion in the town
  • Rescue of woman caught in current at Clacton Pier on Sunday sparks warning to swimmers
  • Lorry driver accused of dangerous driving after crash with bus must face Crown court next month

Weather: Dry and warm but rain expected

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

Dry and bright with sunny spells during the first part of the afternoon, as our midday picture from Alresford, courtesy of BBC Weather Watcher Cassius, shows. 

BBC Weather Watchers / Cassius

Feeling warm in sunshine but cloud increasing from the west will bring outbreaks of rain later. 

Maximum temperature: 23C (73F).

More details from BBC Weather:

Colchester scrapyard fire: How it's being covered elsewhere

The hyperlocal online blog Colchester Chronicle has been putting up lots of good pictures of the scrapyard fire at Haven Road in the town today, such as the one below.

Smoke plume from fire
Colchester Chronicle

You can have a look at the others on its Twitter feed.  

Football: Clarets members vote to approve takeover by construction firm

BBC Sport

Chelmsford City FC members voted last night to approve a takeover by the Jade Global Group with 74 in favour and one abstention.

Chelmsford City FC logo
Chelmsford City FC

Clarets chairman Trevor Smith said the club now had a sound and prosperous future with the Rainham-based construction and project management group. 

"I am delighted that following months of hard work to ensure the future of the club, the 75 members at the extraordinary general meeting have supported the board's recommendation to sanction this proposal."

Warning issued after woman caught by current under Clacton Pier

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Swimmers have been warned after a woman caught by a current under Clacton Pier on Sunday.

Clacton Pier

Beach patrol staff were just finishing for the day when they were alerted to the woman who was lying face-down in the water. They rescued her and she was taken to Colchester Hospital for treatment. 

Tendring District Council said today the currents could be extremely strong around structures such as the pier and breakwaters and warned swimmers to take care.

Watch: At the scene of scrapyard fire

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A fire at a Colchester scrapyard is causing traffic congestion across the town and large billows of smoke can be seen in the sky.

This content only works in the UK.

Eyewitness Jane told BBC Essex she was a passenger in a car travelling from the Tesco supermarket roundabout bridge and said it had taken an hour to get to Old Heath Road.

"The fire engines turned up and police started to divert traffic away from the fire which I think was at the breaker's yard nearby," she said.

Our video, shot by reporter Chris Flynn, shows Essex Fire and Rescue crews at the scene.

Police are now advising people to steer clear of the area and have told local residents to keep doors and windows closed.

Six fire engines tackling blaze at Colchester scrapyard

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Six fire engines are now at the scene of a scrapyard fire in Colchester.

BBC Essex reporter Chris Flynn is also there and sent us this picture.

Scrap yard fire

Essex Fire and Rescue were called to the Haven Road site at 09:43 and found a fire in a large pile of scrapped cars, a spokesman said. 

We'll bring you more soon.

Lorry driver in 'serious' steam engine and bus crash must face Crown court

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A lorry driver facing six charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving in connection with a crash involving a bus and a low-loader carrying a steam engine in Essex has been told his case must be considered by Crown court.

East Mersea crash

Philip Last, 52, of Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth, was driving a low-loader carrying a static steam engine when it collided with a bus in East Mersea in September 2015. The bus driver and several passengers suffered serious injuries, Colchester Magistrates' Court was told. 

Mr Last did not enter a plea and was released on unconditional bail for a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on 25 August. 

Raymond Bond, chairman of the magistrates, told him: "We are sending this case to Crown court because of the serious nature of the injuries."

BreakingSmoke plume seen rising over Colchester's Hythe area

Four fire engines are currently at the scene of a fire at a scrapyard in Colchester's Hythe area.

Fire in the Hythe area
Colchester Chronicle

Essex Fire and Rescue says the fire in Haven Road was reported at 09:43 and involves scrap cars.

Man arrested in Weeley over possession of firearm and drink-driving

Jodie Smith

BBC News

A man has been arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill, possession of a firearm and drink driving after an incident in Clacton yesterday.

Police jacket

Police went to an address in Weeley at about 15:00 BST and a helicopter carried out a search of the Clacton area. 

A 67-year-old local man was arrested and remains in custody this morning.

Lorry driver due in court over steam engine crash

A man is due to appear in court this morning charged with six counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a collision involving a bus and a lorry carrying a static steam engine near East Mersea. 

Lorry driver Philip Last, 52, of Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth, was charged with six counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on 28 June.  

Steam engine crash

Bus driver Michael Birch had to be cut free from his cab and later said he thought he "would die".  

Mr Last is due to appear before Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Travel: Accident in Harlow causing congestion

BBC Travel

An accident on Sheering Roadnear the Churchgate Street junction in Harlow is causing serious traffic congestion in both directions.

More details from BBC Travel:

Weather: Dry and warm but rain expected

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

A dry start to the day with some bright spells and light winds.

Feeling warm in any sunshine, but the cloud will begin to thicken during the day bringing a spell of rain eastwards.

The rain will turn heavy for a time, with scattered heavy showers following on behind for the early evening. 

Maximum temperature: 23C (73F) 

More details from BBC Weather:

Welcome to Essex Live on Thursday

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

BBC Essex has a live exclusive today. 

Lisa Duffy is on the station to open her bid for the leadership of UKIP in the county, where the party's only MP Douglas Carswell has a seat.

Also, the Immigration Services Union says moving staff from Harwich and Tilbury ports to help out at Heathrow is a threat to security.

More on these and other stories later.