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  1. Updates for Thursday 13 April 2017
  2. Fuel tankers destroyed by fire on industrial estate
  3. Alastair Cook back from injury for Essex
  4. Search for descendents of war soldiers after 'dog tag' find

Live Reporting

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  1. Goodbye for the week

    That's all from the team providing regular updates of news, travel, sport and weather in Essex for this week.  

    Here's a recap of some of the stories we've been covering - but scroll down for more:

    • Fire which saw five tankers go up in flames is "not suspicious"
    • Tommy the tortoise is found and reunited with his owners
    • A man is jailed for two years for sexual offences against a child

    We'll be back from 08:00 on Tuesday.

    Have a great Easter.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Man filmed allegedly stealing coins from park's wishing pond

    A man took penny-pinching a step too far when he was caught taking coins from a Colchester park pond.

  3. Tools worth £3.5k stolen from community project

    Stuart Woodward

    BBC Essex

    Tools worth £3,500 have been stolen from a community project which enables men to learn new skills. 

    The electrical tools were taken from Maldon Men's Shed at some point between 13:00 on Monday and 10:20 on Wednesday. 

    The men's shed is aimed at helping members learn new skills and socialise. They make woodwork and craft projects. 

    Bob Adams, from the scheme, said: "It's absolutely devastating for us but I suppose the true British spirit is that although it's a terrible tragedy to us, we won't be beaten."  

    Video content

    Video caption: Tools worth £3.5k stolen from Maldon men's shed
  4. Six new caravans arrive at Walton site

    A further group of travellers have turned up at Walton’s Bath House Meadow, bringing the total number of caravans to 16.

    Caravans at Walton site

    Tendring District Council is already taking action against several caravans that were next to the Walton Lifestyles facility. They were given 24 hours to leave the area. 

    Nigel Brown, the council's communications manager, said the council had been told the initial group was staying one night before catching a ferry to Holland.

    He said: "Not only have they not moved on but they have been joined by another six new caravans which means a significant number taking up a considerable amount of space."

    The council will continue to monitor the situation today and over the weekend.

  5. Tortoise 'warm, fed and back with pals'

    A tortoise who went missing and was thought to have been stolen has been reunited with his hard-shelled friends.


    As we reported earlier, Tommy the tortoise was found at Hockley Woods, five miles away from his home at Hadleigh Farm Rare Breeds Centre.

    He was handed into the vets and traced back to Hadleigh Farm by a microchip.

    Centre manager Emma Sayer, pictured below with Tommy, said: “Although initially a little confused and hungry, Tommy is now warm, fed and back with friends Tammy and Pebbles.

    "A huge thank you to all those that shared his story and helped bring him home."

    Emma Sayer with Tommy
  6. Child victim praised for 'bravery and courage'

    Police have praised a girl for her bravery after a man was jailed for child abduction and sexual offences.

    As we've reported, steel worker James Johnston, of D'Arcy Road, Colchester, was jailed for two years after admitting the crimes at Ipswich Crown Court.

    He has also been placed on the sex offenders' register.

    Investigating officer Det Con Rachel Moss, from Essex Police, said: "Johnston took advantage of the victim's vulnerability. 

    "I pay tribute to her bravery and courage for coming forward and to her family who have been a huge support and strength to her. 

    "I'd like to thank the victim and her family for their support throughout this investigation and for helping to bring Johnston to justice.” 

  7. Steel worker jailed for sexual offences against a child

    A man has been jailed for two years after admitting sexual offences against a child.

    James Johnston

    James Johnston, 31, a steel worker from D’Arcy Road, Colchester, was given a child abduction warning notice in January after police received reports of him engaging with a 14-year-old girl. 

    Further investigations in February showed he had continued to contact the victim and he was subsequently arrested for child abduction.

    He was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to child abduction and sexual activity with a child. 

    Johnston has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.  

  8. Tanker blaze 'not suspicious'

    A fire which saw five fuel tankers go up in flames is not being treated as suspicious.

    Tanker fire

    As we've been reporting, the blaze broke out at the industrial estate at Botany Way in Purfleet at about 22:00 on Wednesday.

    Five fuel tankers were involved.  

    At its height, more than 40 firefighters were on the scene. 

    Essex Fire and Rescue Service said although the investigation is ongoing, the blaze is not being treated as suspicious. 

    It is thought it may have been started by an electrical fault.

  9. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

    BBC News Travel

    M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J26 for A121.

    M25 Greater London - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a broken down van.

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

  10. Injury doubts for The Shrimpers

    There are injury doubts for Southend United ahead of their Good Friday clash with Chesterfield.

    The Shrimpers could be without Anton Ferdinand, Adam Thompson, John White and Nile Ranger for the League One match.

    Thompson has not trained this week due to tonsillitis, the club said.

    Southend United
  11. Video content

    Video caption: Fire engulfs fuel tankers on Essex industrial estate

    Five fuel tankers have been destroyed in a fire at an industrial estate in Purfleet, Essex.

  12. Concerns for missing father-of-one

    Motorists are being asked to help police find a missing man.

    Nigel Kedar has been missing from his Clacton home for more than a week. The 52-year-old visited Norwich on 2 April and was last seen two days later, walking along the A140 at Pulham Market in the direction of the A14.

    Nigel Kedar

    Det Ch Insp Marie James says it's likely that Mr Kedar was walking home, as the route - the A12, A14, A140 into Norwich - is one he's familiar with.

    Police are asking for any drivers with dash cams, who may have travelled on the road on that day, to come forward with their footage.

    Quote Message: Our concerns are increasing every day... it's very much out-of-character for Nigel not to be in contact with family and friends, he has a young son who he'd regularly be in contact with." from Det Ch Insp Marie James Norfolk police
    Det Ch Insp Marie JamesNorfolk police
  13. A cloudy but dry afternoon

    It will turn cloudier through the afternoon but it should stay mainly dry. 

    The best of any brightness will be across southern areas with light winds throughout. 

    Maximum temperature 12C (54F).

    Get a full forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

  14. Tommy the tortoise is found in woods

    A tortoise which police believed had been stolen has been found.

    Tommy the tortoise

    Salvation Army's Rare Breeds Centre in Hadleigh told BBC Essex a member of the public discovered Tommy in Hockley Woods.

    The creature had gone missing on Monday.

    The centre said he was "feeling fine despite being a little cold and hungry".  

  15. New tunnel will 'disrupt and destroy' villages

    The new Lower Thames Crossing will "destroy" villages, according to those who live close to the preferred route.

    John and Jackie Thacker

    As we reported, the government announced there will be a tunnel linking Gravesend and Tilbury.

    The planned route will cut through the Essex countryside from North Ockendon to Orsett and around Chadwell St Mary to Tilbury. 

    Jackie Thacker, who lives with her husband John in Orsett, said their Grade II-listed barn could be demolished to make way for this road.

    She said: "They're disrupting and destroying the last of the few beautiful villages around Thurrock and the North Ockendon area, the peace and quiet people enjoy at the moment, away from the London encroachment.

    "We understand progress has got to happen but not to disrupt and destroy people's lives. Once that road goes through, there's no going back."

    The Department of Transport said most of the 47,000 people who responded to a consultation chose the new tunnel as the preferred river crossing option.

    The planned tunnel route
  16. VIDEO: Adapted car 'is my lifeline'

    Changes to the benefits system mean some people are having their adapted cars, scooters or powered wheelchairs taken away from them. 

    According to figures, more than 50,000 vehicles have already been reclaimed. 

    The charity Motability, which provides the vehicles, has said it is a government decision to determine who is eligible for the scheme. 

    The Department for Work and Pensions said it is constantly reviewing its processes and most people leaving the scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of up to £2,000 to meet their needs.

    Jade Hamnett, a member of a group called Fair Access to Colchester, is one of those affected:

    View more on twitter
  17. Investigation into tank fire under way

    An investigation has been launched into a fire which saw five tankers destroyed at a Purfleet industrial estate.

    As we've been reporting, firefighters were called to Botany Way, just before 22:00 on Wednesday, where they found the tankers were already "well alight". 

    No-one was injured and Essex Fire and Rescue Service has started its investigation this morning.

    View more on twitter
  18. VIDEO: Hunt for descendants of war soldiers

    A man from Stansted is desperately trying to trace the descendants of soldiers who fought in World War Two after he found personal identity 'dog tags' in a field just outside London. 

    He's managed to track down eight families so far - but he's got 14,000 still to go.     

    Video content

    Video caption: Dan Mackay wants reunite the tags with any surviving soldier or their family