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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 31 March, 2017
  2. Teenager jailed for killing two passengers in his car at Christmas
  3. Shopkeeper to sell shop after fraud bid
  4. Police find large cannabis factory
  5. Weather: Mostly bright and just the outside chance of a shower

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

All the news for Essex through the day

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

That's it from the Essex Live team for the week so goodbye and have an enjoyable evening and weekend.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Monday, bringing you the news, sport, travel and weather as it happens.

These are some of the stories we've covered today:

If there's anything happening that you'd like us to know about, you can contact us using the "Get involved" button at the top of this page.

Killer car driver had no licence or insurance

Essex Police has issued a statement on the four-year jail sentence given to the 16-year-old who crashed a car in Leigh-on-Sea at Christmas, killing his two passengers.

Vigil in Leigh-on-Sea for Reigan Knight and Liam Phillips
BBC

Det Insp Scott Egerton said: "Reigan Knight and Liam Phillips were two young men with their lives ahead of them.

"They were passengers in the car and had no control over the events that led to their tragic deaths. "The driver of this car has pleaded guilty - he drove dangerously without a licence or insurance in a car he had bought and he caused their deaths."He has to live with this for the rest of his life, but so do the families of Reigan and Liam. "Their loved ones will never come home and our thoughts are very much with them." 

The killer cannot be identified for legal reasons - because of his young age.

A dry night, with sunshine and showers tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Tonight will be mostly dry across the BBC East region, with clear spells as temperatures drop to 7C (45F).

It's a mixed bag of weather for Saturday. There'll be sunny spells and the first of those April showers, some heavy with hail and thunder.

Temperatures could reach 15C (59F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Weather graphic for Saturday 05:00
BBC

Tinkler: Whitlock is a 'massive inspiration'

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler says training alongside Max Whitlock has been a "massive inspiration".

Tinkler, 17, has taken the decision to move to the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon from the club she was training at in County Durham when she won her medal in Rio last year.

She made a tentative return to competition last weekend when, recovering from a minor calf injury, she competed in the parallel bars and finished fourth. 

Amy Tinkler
Getty Images

Next month, she has the European Championships in Cluj, Romania, and the World Championships in Montreal later this year.   

She said: "A lot of athletes lose motivation after an Olympics, but I had even more reason to get back in the gym. 

"The environment at South Essex is great and just the sort of place you want to be training every day. 

"Training alongside Max is a massive inspiration and he has made me feel so welcome. 

"It's like one big family and it feels so relaxed. We've got a really strong team and it's up to us to make the most of it this year."

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler joins Max Whitlock gym club

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler has left her home club in County Durham to join the club where double Olympic champion Max Whitlock trains at in Basildon. 

Tinkler was just 16 years old when she won a surprise bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, and subsequently was quick to pile praise on the Pink Gym in her home town of Spennymoor where she had trained since a toddler. 

Amy Tinkler celebrating winning her bronze medal
Getty Images

But shortly after returning from Brazil, Tinkler made the choice to switch to the successful south Essex club which trained Whitlock and GB team-mate Brinn Bevan. 

She said: "It wasn't a particularly hard decision, because I knew it was one I had to make if I wanted to further my career. 

"It had reached the point where things weren't really working out for me at Spennymoor any more. 

"Everything happened suddenly after Rio, and I didn't really get the chance to think about it, but I know it was the right move." 

The extent of the upheaval is not to be under-estimated - it involved Tinkler's mother giving up her job at the gym and moving with her daughter to Basildon, from where Tinkler is now continuing her A-level studies with Durham High School via e-mail. 

Teenager sentenced to four years after fatal Essex crash

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A 16-year-old has been sentenced to four years in custody for causing the deaths of two teenagers by dangerous driving during a police pursuit.

Liam Phillips and Reigan Knight
Essex Police

Liam Phillips and Reigan Knight (pictured), both 17, died when the Ford Escort they were passengers in crashed in Leigh-on-Sea on 27 December.

A boy from Great Wakering, who cannot be named, admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

He was also banned from driving for four years at Chelmsford Crown Court.

In the wake of the deaths about 300 people attended a candlelit beach vigil for the two boys.

Teenager jailed for fatal car crash

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A teenager's been jailed for causing the death of two of his friends in a car crash at a junction on Southsea Avenue in Leigh-on-Sea.

Flowers left in tribute
BBC

The 16-year-old, who can't be named, has been jailed for four years and disqualified from driving for four years from the date of his prison release.

Reigan Knight and Liam Phillips, who were both seventeen-years-old, died just after Christmas when the car, that they were passengers in, crashed . It was being followed by an Essex Police vehicle at the time.

Warning from shell fishery owner

The owner of a shell fishery in Essex, where a fishing ban has been lifted, says we all need to take more care of our rivers and estuaries.

The Food Standards Agency has lifted a two-year ban on shell fishing at Barton Hall on the River Roach.

Paul Gilson
BBC

High levels of the bacteria E. coli meant it wasn't safe to eat shellfish from there.

It meant owner Paul Gilson had to put his plans to sell his business on hold.

"This place is just part of a network of places that we must look after," he said.

"For all of us. Not just me as a fisherman. Everybody."

Ban lifted on shell fishing two years on

A two-year shell fishing ban on the River Roach, near Rochford and Southend, has been lifted.

The river, at Barton Hall, was closed by the Food Standards Agency in March 2015 after tests showed extremely high levels of E. coli in the water.

River Roach
BBC

Paul Gilson, who owns a shell fishery, said: "We were devastated.

"At that time, we actually had a company which were looking to buy the river from us, and that was going to be our pension."

An investigation carried out by the Environment Agency found raw sewage was getting into the river upstream, as homes weren't being plumbed-in properly.

Anglian Water says it wasn't responsible for the misconnections, but it did fix them.

It also repaired a partly-collapsed sewer, and cleared some blockages from sewer pipes.

The quality of the water has since improved and the ban was lifted last month.

BBC Inside Out: Captain Darell a 'hero'

BBC Inside Out

This year is the 350th anniversary of the first ever land battle of the predecessors to the Royal Marines.

Historic image of Capt Nathaniel Darell
BBC
Languard Fort, Felixstowe
BBC

The battle took place near Landguard Fort in Felixstowe.

In July 1667, about 1,500 Dutch soldiers tried to attack the port and destroy the English fleet as part of an ongoing war over trade. 

But 400 soldiers led by Captain Nathaniel Darell defeated them.

Warrant Officer Jake Laidlaw, a Royal Marine veteran, was in charge of last year's parade but had no idea of the history on his doorstep until a few years ago.

"As far as we're concerned in East Anglia, he's our hero, he gives us something to celebrate once a year," he said.

Landguard Fort located on the northern side of Harwich Harbour was designed to guard the naval port of Harwich on the other side of the harbour, as well as the mouths of the Stour and Orwell rivers.

You can find out more about the anniversary and the importance of the fort tonight on Inside Out at 19:30 on BBC1 .

The programme also looks at the case of Suffolk's Lauri Love, who is facing extradition to the USA to answer computer hacking charges .

Severe disruption: A12 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

A12 Essex northbound severe disruption, at J25 A120 Coggeshall Road.

A12 Essex - A12 in Great Tey lane closed on entry slip road and very slow traffic northbound at J25, A120 (Marks Tey), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

When tackles go wrong...

#PeoplesCup

Just how did those legs end up there? Find out with our top 10 magic moments from last weekend's FA People's Cup semi-finals.

For more FA People's Cup action, watch  our semi-final highlights programme,  available on the iPlayer from 06:00 BST on Saturday morning, 1 April, and on the Red Button at 13:50 BST and repeated throughout the weekend.

Shortage of local crabs in Thames raised in Commons

The Conservative MP for Southend West, Sir David Amess, has raised the issue of a shortage of crabs in the Thames estuary, due to excessive dredging.

Crabs
Getty Images

He said: "Local fishermen have drawn to my attention that the marine conservation zones prohibit fishing in 20% of UK waters, but allow dredging for sand or gravel.

"And this is weakening the British fishing industry as Thames estuary fish stocks are at a bare minimum due to dredging. 

"And apparently with crabbing, which is very popular in our area, there's a shortage of local crabs."

Hopes of 'package' for Laindon printing firm

The Unite union says it's hoping that a buyer and "rescue package" can be found for a Laindon printing firm that's been placed in administration. 

As reported yesterday, more than 100 workers have already been made redundant at the Anton Group. About 200 other jobs are believed to be under threat.   

Anton Group
BBC

The Detectorists set to return to Suffolk

Kelly McCormack

BBC Radio Suffolk

The BBC's confirmed the stars of the popular show Detectorists will return to Suffolk this year.

Scene from the Detectorists
BBC

Filming for the third series will start this summer around Framlingham, although the story is actually set in a fictional Essex village called Danebury.

It's due to be broadcast later this year.

One of the stars, Mackenzie Crook (pictured right) told the BBC: "The prospect of filming another summer in the beautiful English countryside is a good one."

Police chief's take on travellers at Wickford

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Roger Hirst has said the force would only be involved in dealing with a group of travellers who've set up an unauthorised camp in Wickford, if they were investigating any criminal activities, as they would with any other section of the community.

Hovefields Avenue, Wickford
BBC

Some local residents have been voicing their concerns about the site near Hovefields Avenue, and PCC says officers are looking at the situation. 

He said: "Is it a criminal activity or not?

"If it's not a crime, then we need to understand that properly and I think sometimes there's a misperception as to whether what's happening is criminal, whether it's unlawful, or whether it's just unauthorised."

Murder inquiry: Man arrested on suspicion of robbery

Police have arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the robbery in Hullbridge near Rayleigh in which 57-year-old Timothy Smith died.Andrew McVicar, 33, from Basildon, was arrested in Scotland today on suspicion of robbery.

The Drive, Hullbridge
Google

It follows an incident in The Drive on the evening of Sunday, 19 March, which police are treating as a murder investigation.

Mr Smith died a couple of days later from head injuries.A 50-year-old man from Southend has already been charged with robbery and a 28-year-old man from Basildon was charged with possession of criminal property.  

Council does not have 'sufficient powers' over travellers' site

People living in Wickford have said they are worried about a possible influx of travellers over the Easter holiday. 

Hovefields Avenue
BBC

More caravans have arrived at a site near Hovefields Avenue. 

There are concerns it  could become as big  as the old, unauthorised, Dale Farm site. 

Phil Turner, the Conservative leader of Basildon Borough Council, told BBC Essex the law does not give local authorities "sufficient powers" to deal with large traveller camps. 

He wants councils to have emergency powers to speed up evictions. 

Residents' concern over traveller influx

A number of Wickford residents say they're worried about a possible influx of travellers over the Easter holiday. 

More caravans have arrived at an unauthorised site near Hovefields Avenue, which is surfaced and has electricity. 

Track at Hovefields Avenue
BBC

Some people who are living in the area fear it could become as big as the "Dale Farm" site, which was closed and about 400 people evicted after a long-running legal battle between the travellers and Basildon Council. 

Jill Walsh, one of the Wickford residents, said: "I'm worried about once the council offices shut at 4.15 on the Thursday, that we're just going to have a string of mobile homes appearing, and being delivered to the site - lorries -  who knows what's going to appear? 

"Residents are seriously concerned."

MP's aide in court on rape charges

Samuel Armstrong
Twitter

A Conservative MP's aide has appeared in court charged with two counts of rape following an alleged incident at the Palace of Westminster.

Samuel Armstrong, 23, from Danbury in Essex, is also charged with sexual assault in relation to the alleged attack in October last year.

The charges relate to an alleged incident last October at the Palace of Westminster.

He was bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court on April 28. 

Three arrests made after 1,000 cannabis plants found

Police have arrested three men after discovering more than 1,000 cannabis plants at a warehouse in Braintree, which we mentioned earlier .

Cannabis plant
PA

Officers found what they described as a "sophisticated cannabis factory" with plants in the ‘drying out’ phase at the site in Convent Lane yesterday.Three men from London were arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation.They were are in custody at Colchester police station. Meanwhile a full search of the building is due to take place today.     

Essex shopkeeper 'can't control feelings'

An Essex shopkeeper says his family is struggling to come to terms with a road crash in Leigh-on-Sea which has left his pregnant wife in hospital with serious injuries. 

The collision happened after an alleged fraudster was trying to leave their store on London Road. 

Crime scene
BBC

Thangarasa Ajanraj told the BBC that he, and his two-year-old son, can't believe what's happened. 

He said: "I can't control my feelings. She's crying. I'm crying. My son can't find out. I can't tell my son about her injuries. It's a very bad time.

"I plan to sell it [the shop].

"I have to look after my kids, and my wife, and I can't do everything." 

Shopkeeper to sell shop after fraud bid

A shopkeeper has decided to sell his business after his pregnant wife was seriously injured in a road crash when she tried to stop an alleged fraud at their store.

Mr and Mrs Ajanraj
BBC

Vinisha Ajanraj, from Leigh-on-Sea, is currently being treated in hospital after Monday's incident  where she was hit by a car outside the shop on London Road.

The couple's unborn baby was not harmed.

Mrs Ajanraj's husband Thangarasa said it was an "extremely difficult" situation to deal with.

A 25-year-old man has appeared at Basildon Crown Court, accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, fraud, dangerous driving and failing to stop.   

Aviation expert seeks to reassure over loss of police helicopter

Back now to our story about Suffolk losing the  Wattisham-based police helicopter from today, after which time the nearest chopper will be based at Boreham near Chelmsford in Essex.

Map showing locations of bases for police helicopters
BBC

Aviation expert Roger Smith from Oulton Broad says: "Over the years, helicopter performance has increased.

"Helicopters are faster than they used to be. 

"The actual transit time has reduced, so having an aircraft that's based slightly further away doesn't have the impact that it would have done, say, 10 years ago." 

Weather: Mostly bright and just the outside chance of a shower

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It will be a very mild start to the day, with any early brightness soon clouding over.

Through the afternoon the cloud will break up to reveal some good spells of sunshine and just the outside chance of a shower.

It will be a little less warm than yesterday, but temperatures could still reach 17C (63F).

Here's my full forecast...

You can find more details on the BBC Weather website .

Welcome to Friday's Essex Live

A very good morning on this bright and mild Friday.

We'll be bringing you all the news, travel, sport and weather from Essex throughout the day until 18:00.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us by clicking the "Get involved" button above.

First up, here's Elizabeth Rizzini with the weather.

Severe disruption: M11 Essex southbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex southbound severe disruption, at J7 for A414.

M11 Essex - M11 lane closed on entry slip road and one lane closed southbound at J7, A414 (Harlow), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A282 Kent northbound

BBC News Travel

A282 Kent northbound severe disruption, between M25 J1A and M25 J31.

A282 Kent - A282 blocked northbound between Swanscombe and the M25 J31 junction, because of a lorry fire.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe accident, between J26 for A121 and J25 for A10.

M25 Essex - One lane closed on M25 anticlockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe accident, between J27 for M11 and J26 for A121.

M25 Essex - Very slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J27 M11 and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Teenager escapes after man tried to bundle her into van

An investigation's under way after a man tried to forced a 17-year-old girl into a van in Holst Avenue, Laindon, last night. 

The teenager managed to escape uninjured.

Essex Police are now searching for the driver and the passenger of the vehicle.

Weather: Clear tonight and sunny spells and showers tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Any evening showers should soon ease, to leave mostly dry conditions for the rest of the night with some clear spells. It will be mild with a minimum temperature of 10C (50F).

weather
BBC

Tomorrow morning some showery rain will move eastwards. By the afternoon it will turn drier and brighter, with sunny spells and a few light showers. 

It'll be a little less warm than today with a maximum temperature of about 17C (63F).

There are more details on BBC Weather website .

Severe disruption: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe disruption, at J6 for M25.

M11 Essex - Slow traffic on M11 northbound at J6 M25, because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J4, A406 (Woodford).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time