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  1. Updates for Friday, 20 October 2017
  2. Speed awareness courses 'most expensive' in Essex
  3. MP optimistic over bereavement rights bill
  4. Chelmsford man given award for helping terror victims
  5. Emergency repairs close A12 northbound at J17

Live Reporting

By Philippa Taylor

All times stated are UK

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Greater Anglia says its arrangements were '100% robust'

Greater Anglia has responded to criticism by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) over the use of office workers who were trained up to work as guards during the recent industrial action by members of the RMT.

The Chief Inspector of Railways has written to the rail operator having identified a "number of areas with deficiencies" that need to be addressed.

Greater Anglia train

Train Service Director for Greater Anglia, Richard Dean, said he was somewhat disappointed over the letter: "We met the ORR and we took them through our arrangements.

"We believe 100% that our arrangements were robust and we are following that up with the ORR.

"We said to them we would not use our contingency conductors until such time as we'd satisfied them that the arrangements were robust.

"We made that offer to them, they didn't tell us to do it.

"What we are actually talking about is a piece of administration that they want to see ie they want us to write up what we did, and that's exactly what we have done.

"We'll be sitting down with them and we'll be going through in as much detail as they want until they are satisfied.

"I am absolutely satisfied that our arrangements were 100% robust."

Overnight weather: Dry at first but some outbreaks of rain later

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

There'll be a few clear spells at first tonight where it will turn a little chilly, but thickening cloud will eventually bring outbreaks of rain from the west.

Southerly winds will strengthen during the early hours, with temperatures initially falling to 8C (46F) but becoming milder by dawn.

Wind chart

There'll be a sunny start to Saturday morning, with just a few isolated showers, but these will become more widespread as cloud builds through the day.

Windy with southwesterly winds gusting 40-50mph during the afternoon, temperatures peaking at 16C (61F).

Get the full forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

RMT calls for Greater Anglia to be stripped of its franchise

Steve Blower

BBC Radio Suffolk

The Rail Union, the RMT, is demanding that Greater Anglia be stripped of its franchise after comments by the Chief Inspector of Railways.

The safety organisation has told the train operator that until issues are resolved, office staff can't be used again as replacements.

Picket line at Ipswich station

The RMT had raised a number of safety concerns when the train company used replacements for the guards who were on strike.

There was an incident at Ipswich station where the doors were opened on the wrong side.

The RMT also says there was a safety breach on the East Suffolk line when office staff were being trained, when doors were opened while a train was moving.

We'll bring you reaction from Greater Anglia shortly.

Essex lad named as 'Young Builder of the Year'

A 17-year-old student from Witham has been judged to be the UK Young Builder of the Year in a competition run by the national organisation Youthbuild UK.

Kyron Dalton
Essex Youthbuild

Kyron Dalton, from Essex Youthbuild, a charity which offers construction and employability skills training for young people, beat off competition from five other finalists in the 14-18 year-old category.

Harvey Baker, Essex's other finalist, received a commendation.

Manager Jane Cosh said: "This was a fantastic day that recognised the courage and determination of these young people to overcome obstacles in their personal lives and to make the most of opportunities presented to them."

Severe accident: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe accident, between J8 for A120 and J9 for A11 Saffron Walden affecting J7 for A414.

M11 Essex - Two lanes closed, very slow traffic and long delays on M11 northbound between J8, A120 (Bishop Stortford) and J9 A11 Saffron Walden, because of an accident. Travel time is 50 minutes. Congestion to J7, A414 (Harlow).

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

Opportunity for young people to try their hand at sports reporting

Do you know a youngster who'd like to report on their own sports story at the BBC?

The BBC School Report Sports Reporter scheme is open for 16-18-year-olds, with applications open until 10 November.

What's on offer?

  • 5 day placement within a BBC Local or Nations radio or online sports department
  • A mentor from your chosen BBC site
  • The opportunity to share your sports story with BBC audiences
  • Training with your BBC mentor to provide you with the required skills to tell your story. These could be: interviewing and sports story writing skills; editing skills; script writing and presenting skills of packages for radio and online

What are we looking for?

  • You'll need to be aged 16-18 before the start of the scheme
  • You’ll need to be in full-time education*
  • A proven passion for sport
  • A fantastic story idea relevant to the location you’re applying to
  • You don’t need to have any prior journalism experience or training to apply

*Please note this is an opportunity for people studying at school, college or a youth group. This is not a suitable opportunity for university students or apprentices studying at university level.

School Report Sports Reporter logo

Speed awareness courses 'most expensive' in Essex

Essex drivers paid the highest amount for speed awareness courses in the country last year, according to figures released today.

Policeman carrying out speed check

A speed awareness course is offered to motorists caught exceeding the speed limited by a few miles per hour.

It's offered as an alternative to a fine and three penalty points on a motorists driving license.

Figures from the Press Association show motorists in Essex paid £99 to attend an awareness session last year.

That compares to just £75 for a similar course offered in Northamptonshire.

The "Safer Essex Road Partnership" says it takes speeding seriously and the courses offer motorists the option of education on the dangers of speeding.

The cost of that course is now £91 with roughly half that money going to the police.

Highways England warns of long delays northbound on A12 at J17

MP optimistic over bereavement rights bill

The MP for Colchester says he's confident the bereavement rights bill will make it to the next stage in parliament.

Conservative Will Quince, whose son was stillborn in 2015, is campaigning for parents to get paid leave if their child dies.

Will Quince

He said: "I'm really optimistic at second reading that the parental bereavement leave will make its way on and through to the next stage, which is committee and report stage.

"It would literally give us world-class bereavement rights.

"Parents would be entitled to two weeks paid leave if they lose their child up to the age of 18, something we don't have at the moment."

The legislation, which Mr Quince helped introduce, has its second reading today.

Chelmsford man given award for helping terror victims

A Chelmsford man has just received a bravery award from the Queen for helping people who were shot by a gunman during a terror attack in Sousse in Tunisia in 2015.

Floral tribute on beach at Sousse

Allen Pembroke was on the beach with his wife when the gunman opened fire. They ran to their hotel but then Allen went back to the beach to help the injured.

He told us how he helped one woman: "I could see she was semi-conscious.

"I observed that she had some horrific injuries. I spoke with her, I gave her water. I tended her wounds as best I could, I stopped the bleeding.

"I then checked 15 or 20 other bodies in the immediate vicinity.

"All the time the gunman was shooting and throwing grenades. It was pretty scary."

Severe accident: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe accident, between J8 for A120 and J9 for A11 Saffron Walden.

M11 Essex - M11 partially blocked and slow traffic northbound between J8, A120 (Bishop Stortford) and J9 A11 Saffron Walden, because of an accident.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, after J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - Two lanes closed and queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise after J27 M11, because of a broken down lorry.

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

Today's weather: Wet and windy start

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

After a wet and windy start there will be a gradual improvement through the day and things will brighten up in the afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

Elizabeth Rizzini has the outlook for the East of England on Friday, 20 October 2017.

Gumtree issue statement after Colchester scamster jailed

Following yesterday's story that a scamster who conned people on auction websites into sending him money for non-existent products, one of those websites has issued a statement.

Norman Fowler, 39, of Colchester, was jailed for nine months for fraud, having been tracked down to Spain.

A Gumtree spokesman said: "We take fraud extremely seriously, and are pleased to see the perpetrator of these crimes brought to justice.

"We list comprehensive safety advice on our website and work regularly with law enforcement to share information and aid their investigations.

"We always advise that potential buyers see an item before buying it, and encourage anyone that thinks they may have come across a scam to report it to us immediately.

"Our dedicated safety team can investigate and take action such as blocking the offender from the site."

Weather: Wet and misty overnight, brighter by Friday afternoon

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Rather cloudy across the BBC East region this evening with scattered showers becoming more prolonged later this evening, but they should clear to leave mild and misty conditions.

There will be moderate southerly winds and lows of 10C (50F).

BBC East weather map

Friday will be cool, cloudy and breezy with more showers possible at first, but then brighter later.

There will be west to south westerly winds and a peak temperature of 14C (58F).

For a more detailed forecast where you are, visit BBC Weather.

Fly-tipping costs taxpayers £58m in clean-up costs

A drone-camera filmed the extent of rubbish dumped in Purfleet in south Essex in 2014

More than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, costing taxpayers £58m to clear up.

It was the fourth year in a row that incidents increased.

About 56,000 fixed penalty notices were handed out by councils to people caught illegally dumping.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said two-thirds of fly-tipping was household waste.

There were about 1,002,000 cases of fly-tipping handled by councils in England between April 2016 and March 2017, equivalent to 114 every hour.

This was 66,000 (7%) more than the year before.

Chart showing areas with the most incidents of fly-tipping by population

M11 accidents 'an increasing worry' says MP

The government is promising to hold talks after concern over the spate of accidents on the M11 in Essex.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, told the Commons it was an increasing worry, with many Harlow motorists facing significant problems from congestion and accidents.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said he was aware of the issues, adding that he'd be delighted to meet with Mr Halfon.

Emergency services at the scene of an accident on the M11 in 2001
Matt Coles

County champions Essex sign Kent all-rounder Matt Coles on a contract until the end of the 2019 season.

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Mixed fortunes for rare seabird on Tendring peninsula

Despite a promising start, one of the UK's rarest seabirds had a turbulent breeding season on the Essex coast.

Only seven little tern chicks have successfully flown the nest in the county, ready for what will be the first of many 6,000 mile round-trips to West Africa.

The successful chicks hatched from nests on Horsey Island, in Hamford Water off Walton-on-the-Naze.

A little tern with a chick
Kevin Simmonds

Hopes were high for a successful season at Old Hall Marshes on The Naze peninsula, with 10 nests, but these were lost to high tides in June.

Other nesting attempts were made at Stone Point on The Naze, and many birds were seen at Colne Point, near Jaywick and St Osyth, which Essex Wildlife Trust say could mean the site would be an important place for nesting little terns in the future.

A little tern with a chick
Kevin Simmonds

As recently as 20-30 years ago, the county supported several hundred pairs of nesting little terns. But numbers have dropped dramatically, and RSPB spokeswoman Sarah Gelpke says it's crucial to protect the colonies.

Predators, high tides and human disturbance can seriously affect the little tern's fortunes... the struggles for little terns along the Essex coast show the challenges they face."

Sarah GelpkeRSPB

Seven arrests following anti-burglary raids in Harlow

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle after raids in Harlow.

Around 50 officers, including the dog unit and firearms officers, executed warrants in Fern Hill at around 05:00 today.

The join operation forms part of an investigation by Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent police forces into burglaries across three counties where petrol stations and local stores have been targeted and large quantities of cash and cigarettes taken.

Huge increase in ambulances stuck at A&E

East Anglian Daily Times

Here's a look at the front page of the East Anglian Daily Times:

Front page of East Anglian Daily Times
East Anglian Daily Times

Cigarettes and tobacco taken in Chelmsford Co-op burglary

A police investigation is under way after thieves smashed their way into a Co-op store in Chelmsford.

Cigarettes and tobacco were stolen from the shop in Havengore after it was broken into shortly before 01:30.

The Co-op store in Havengore

Two people dressed in black were seen making off on black mopeds.

Police say they're looking into whether this break-in is linked to a similar incident at a Co-op store in Writtle on Monday.

Man burnt as hot drink is thrown into a train at Benfleet

British Transport Police (BTP) have issued this CCTV image of a man they want to trace after hot liquid was thrown into a train at Benfleet station.

CCTV image of the suspect

The incident occurred on the 06:27 C2C service from Benfleet to Fenchurch on Tuesday, 26 September.

There was an altercation between two men on the platform shortly before the train was due to depart.

One of the men threw his cup of coffee inside the train, and the hot liquid hit a 21-year-old man in the face.

He suffered minor burns, reddening and soreness. The suspect left the station.

Anyone with information is asked to call BTP or Crimestoppers.

Ex-Anglia TV presenter 'sexually abused as a child'

The television presenter, Helen McDermott, has revealed she was sexually abused by a family friend when she was 12 years old.

"I was sexually abused by a member from the church... this is the first time I've ever mentioned it, it was something that you never talked about, I thought it was my fault," said Ms McDermott, who is a former presenter on television with Anglia TV and Mustard TV and on BBC Radio Norfolk.

"I was picked up, it was a friend of the family... I would never have talked about this until now, it has affected me all my life, there's no question about that."

Helen McDermott

Ms McDermott has spoken out, as part of the hashtag Me Too campaign, which has gained momentum after allegations of rape and sexual assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced.

Concerns at broken speed restriction signs at Kelvedon Hatch

Some people living in Kelvedon Hatch say they're concerned that illuminated speed restriction signs outside a local school don't work.

Essex Highways installed the 20mph signs outside the Community Primary School in February, at a cost of £14,000 but the parish council says they've never worked.

A spokesperson for Essex Highways says it's working to sort out the fault.

A child and man stand by the sign

Six-year-old pupil Leah says they need fixing as soon as possible as there are too many near-accidents.

"Too many accidents are nearly occurring... too many cars are speeding and it's not safe, some kids might cross the road and it's extremely risky in case they get hurt," she said.

Today's weather: Mild and damp

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It's a damp, mild and rather murky start to the day across the BBC East region, with mist and fog in some places and there will probably be some rain in the western counties. Further east, it is more likely to be dry.

There will be lots of cloud through the day and there might be some showers through the afternoon as well.

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Elizabeth Rizzini has the outlook for the East of England on Thursday, 19 October 2017.

Severe accident: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe accident, from J31 for A1306 to J1A for A206 affecting J30 for A13.

M25 Essex - Queuing traffic on M25 QE2 Bridge clockwise from J31, A1306 (West Thurrock) to J1a, A206 (Swanscombe), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J30 A13.

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

Dan Lawrence

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence signs a new deal to stay with the county champions until 2019.

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Severe accident: A414 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A414 Essex both ways severe accident, between Lodge Road and B1018 Limebrook Way.

A414 Essex - A414 Maldon Road in Maldon blocked and queuing traffic in both directions between the Lodge Road junction and the B1018 Limebrook Way junction, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

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

Prison death to be investigated

Sarah Jenkins

BBC Local Live

The Prison Service says there will be an independent investigation into the death of a man at Chelmsford Prison earlier this week.

Ashley Austin, 36, died in custody on Monday.

The Ministry of Justice says the matter will now be looked at by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

Chelmsford Prison

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "We were contacted shortly after 06:20 on Monday with reports of the death of a man at Chelmsford Prison.

"The man was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His death is currently being treated as unexplained, not suspicious."

Elvis Bwomono

Southend United's teenage full-back Elvis Bwomono signs a three-year professional deal with the League One side.

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Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock in a degree celebration pose
Max Whitlock MBE becomes a Doctor of Science at Anglia Ruskin University.

Nominate your Unsung Hero

Get Inspired

Get Inspired

The deadline to nominate your BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero is on Sunday, at 23:59.

The award recognises someone who devotes their free time to help people in grassroots activity and sport.

Smiling, encouraging, mentoring and lifting spirits - a person who is dedicated to helping others in your community or club.

Who do you know who fits the bill?

Regional winners will attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in Liverpool on Sunday, 17 December, when the overall winner will be announced.

Norman Fowler

The fraudster used eBay and Gumtree to advertise items like watches, phones and laptops he did not have.

Read more

Repair work to start on Venetian Bridge

Sarah Jenkins

BBC Local Live

Work to repair Clacton's 103-year-old Venetian Bridge will start at the end of the month.

The project is costing about £350,000 and is due to be finished by spring. The bridge's surfacing will be removed and replaced with waterproof material.

Clacton Venetian Bridge
Josie Campbell/Geograph

The bridge first started showing signs of distress in 2014. Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said he was aware of the frustration over the length of time the project had taken to get to this stage.

"It is a significant project involving an iconic landmark on Clacton seafront and we had to make sure that we opted for the right way forward and a programme of work that would stand the test of time," he said.

"The contractors will begin on site on 30 October and the aim is to have everything completed by the start of next season."

Dr Whitlock

It was a very proud day yesterday for Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock, who received his Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

Max Whitlock
Max Whitlock

Here he is getting it... .

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Anglia Ruskin University says he was chosen for his "dedication and success" helping to "raise the profile of gymnastics with young people throughout the UK".