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  1. Updates for Friday, 2 June, 2017
  2. Ambulance crews 'feel vulnerable" to assault over drugs
  3. Farage accuses Carswell of damaging party
  4. Coot shot with arrow treated at animal hospital
  5. Crossrail project disruption 'forcing businesses to close'
  6. Striker Sammie looks forward to injury-free season at Colchester

Live Reporting

By Patrick Byrne

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the day

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    That's it for another week from the Essex Live news team on Friday so goodbye and have a great weekend.

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

    Scroll down to see the news and sport we have covered today as well as the warnings about weather to come overnight.

    If you have any photographs from around the county that you'd like to share, or if there's anything happening that you'd like us to know about, you can contact us by clicking on the "Getting involved" button at the top of the page.

  2. Fatal crash driver on M11 jailed for three years

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    A lorry driver who fell asleep at the wheel has been jailed for three years.

    He was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving in a crash on the M11 in April.

    Roger Sharratt, 52, of Bagots Oak in Staffordshire, had denied the charges at a court appearance in May 2014.

    Roger Sharratt

    Geoffrey Mills, 53, and Eleanor Joy Mills, 45, were killed in the collision, which happened near Harlow.

    Police said Sharratt was driving a lorry northbound along the M11 when he went into the back of a black Jaguar XF car.

    The Jaguar then collided with a silver Toyota Auris, pushing it under the back of a horsebox containing five horses.

    The Toyota, carrying Geoffrey Mills and Eleanor Joy Mills, burst into flames and further collided with a white Vauxhall.

    Police said Sharratt was driving at 55mph using cruise control and failed to react to the slowing traffic as he was likely to have been asleep.

  3. Council puts key agencies 'on alert' for flash flooding

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    After a yellow warning for heavy rain was issued by by the Met Office for many parts of eastern England, Southend Borough Council has put key agencies and emergency services on standby.

    The weather has already deteriorated in the west of the county as our Weather Watchers picture from Hatfield Heath shows.

    But places further east have been advised to expect heavy showers and thunderstorms before fresher and drier weather follows overnight.

    Hatfield Heath

    Andy Lewis, acting chief executive, said: "Residents and businesses in Southend are very aware of the disruption that flash flooding can bring.

    "We hope local residents and businesses will be reassured that we are working closely together and poised to respond if necessary."

    A spokeswoman from Anglian Water said: "To ensure our Southend pumping stations are in full working order Anglian Water teams are on the ground checking pumping station equipment and removing debris from the screens on the Prittle Brook.

    "We have teams on standby in anticipation of lightning strikes and power outages that may affect our pumps."

  4. Sport: Southend United denies report stadium talks had 'stalled'

    BBC Sport

    Southend United FC has denied a local press report that talks over plans for a new stadium have stalled.

    The report in the Echo claimed the club and its financial backer had failed to reach a "satisfactory agreement".

    Southend United had lodged a planning application with the borough council for the stadium at Fossetts Farm last month.

    Southend United

    The Blues issued a statement in response that it would not make a detailed comment at this time.

    But they did say "the Echo article is wholly misleading, the content is incorrect in innumerable ways and that the stadium plans are in no way affected and remain entirely on track as planned.

    "The club will be commenting further, and specifically in regard to the Echo reporting, next week."

  5. Stringer signs three for next season at Clarets

    BBC Sport

    Former Southampton and Southend United striker Lee Barnard has joined Chelmsford City FC.

    The frontman has been at Essex neighbours Braintree most recently but says he can't wait to get started for the Clarets.

    "I'm delighted. It's a big club, a local club for me, and I'm really excited to get started now," he said.

    Lee Barnard

    "I've spoken to Rod Stringer before, I know about the Club, it's ambition, and it's something that I want to be a part of.

    "I'm 32 now, even at my age I want to win things and do well. The whole thing about Chelmsford is going in the right direction and I'm pleased to be a part of it."

    He's one of three new signings made in the past 24 hours by manager Rod Stringer.

    Defender Paul Rodgers, 27, who came through the youth system at Arsenal, joins from Bishop's Stortford and Michael West, a 26-year-old midfielder, joins the Clarets from Crewe.

  6. Rikki Clarke has rejoined his first county Surrey, from Warwickshire

    With the 2017 county season here, keep up to date with the latest signings, departures and rumours ahead of next season.

    Read more
  7. Prime minister 'weather cock and not a signpost', Farage claims

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    Relaxing with his trademark British pint of beer in his hand during a campaigning visit to Clacton, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage accused the prime minister of being a "weather cock and not a signpost".

    His confidence in Theresa May's ability to deliver on Brexit is falling by the day, he said.

    Nigel Farage with pint

    He had joined the party's candidate for Clacton Paul Oakley for a morning of campaigning just as the news broke that Tory candidate Craig Mackinlay, who beat him to the South Thanet seat two years ago, had been charged over allegations relating to his 2015 election expenses.

    Mr Farage described Margaret Thatcher as a signpost who knew the direction to take, but likened the current Prime Minister to someone who "blows around in the wind".

  8. Weather: Heavy rain after bright morning

    BBC Weather Watchers

    In a matter of a few hours early morning skies full of fine weather promise have disappeared and parts of the county were plunged into rainy gloom by lunchtime as out BBC Weather Watchers' pictures reveal.

    Great Chesterford

    Expected heavy downpours could lead to surface water flooding and difficult driving conditions in places.

    The heavy showers will ease overnight though lighter rain is likely at times.

    Maximum Temperature: 24C (75F)

    More details from BBC Weather.

  9. Sport: Striker Sammie looks forward to injury-free season at Colchester

    BBC Sport

    Colchester United striker Sammie Szmodics wants an injury-free season after breaking his leg playing at Crewe earlier this year.

    He says he's now looking forward to returning to training after being given the 'all clear' by doctors.

    Sammie Szmodics

    Immediately after leaving hospital on Thursday morning, he told the club's website: "I'm buzzing. I've had four or five x-rays now and thankfully, we now know the fibula has completely healed.

    "I can crack on with my running and the summer work and then look forward to pre-season again," the 21-year-old said.

    "I've had two really bad injuries in the past year but I'm raring to go again.

    "One of my main goals this coming season is to be completely injury-free and have a first ever professional season without getting injured all the way through."

  10. Cricket: Wagner to leave this month but date not set

    BBC Sport

    Essex's overseas player Neil Wagner is to leave the club this month but has said he's loved every minute of his spell at the County Ground in Chelmsford.

    Neil Wagner

    The New Zealand Test left-armer has been signed for just the first half of the season.

    He is leaving this month to accommodate the arrival of Mohammad Amir, fresh from Pakistan duty in the Champions Trophy.

    Wagner's exact departure date depends on the club's progress in the Royal London Cup.

  11. Coot shot with arrow treated at animal hospital

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    A coot that was shot with an arrow through its skin under one wing is being treated for a badly infected wound at South Essex Wildlife Hospital and may need surgery.

    Injured coot

    The bird was spotted by a member of the public walking his dog by a lake next to Mollands Lane, in South Ockendon on Monday, who called the RSPCA.

    The charity has asked anyone with information about what happened to contact them.

    RSPCA inspector Clare Dew and South Essex Wildlife Hospital vet Tom Linsel paddled out to the middle of the lake to catch the injured bird.

    Animal collection officer Joe White said: "This is a horrifying incident that highlights the cruelty of some people.

    "We suspect that this poor bird was shot some days ago and has been suffering ever since," he said.

    The penalties faced if caught deliberately injuring a wild animal can be up to six months in prison and a £5,000 fine if found guilty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the RSPCA said.

  12. Farage to support Thanet fight

    Simon Dedman

    BBC Essex political reporter

    Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, campaigning in Clacton for the party's candidate Paul Oakley, took time out to discuss Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay, who has been charged with allegedly breaking election spending rules.

    Mr Mackinlay is seeking to retain his seat in Thanet South, which he won by beating Nigel Farage in 2015. Mr Farage said it would be unlikely that many residents in Thanet South would vote for him and it would then be a straight fight between Labour and UKIP, so he said he would be heading there to offer his support.

    View more on twitter
  13. Man charged with betting shop robberies

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    A man has been charged with two robberies at bookmakers in Hertfordshire and Essex,

    A female worker was sprayed in the face during one of the incidents, at the Coral store in Elizabeth Road, Bishop's Stortford, on the evening of Monday, 29 May.

    As we reported on Tuesday, it is not yet known if the victim has suffered permanent eye damage and police said they were working to establish what the substance was.

    A 51-year-old has been charged with two counts of robbery.

    The second charge relates to a robbery at Jennings bookmakers in Clacton-on-Sea on 14 May.

    The man is due to appear at Hatfield Remand Court today.

  14. Ambulance crews 'feel vulnerable" to assault over drugs

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    After an East of England Ambulance Service paramedic was attacked and threatened with a knife while on duty in Jaywick earlier this week by a man demanding drugs, another staff member said the situation was always at the back of the minds of crew members.


    Dil Patel believes most crews can feel vulnerable because ambulances carry drugs which are needed to help patients.

    "You do have training on how to face threats, the risks involved and what to do in the case of attack.

    "The drugs we have are locked away and are accessible when we need them but we no longer carry them on our person.

    "There is always a risk of attack or assault by people wanting these drugs," he said.

  15. Call for action on ambulance attacks

    Violence against medical staff should be made a specific criminal offence, according to The Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

    An East of England Ambulance paramedic had a knife held to his neck in Jaywick by someone demanding drugs.

    RCN spokesman Tony Durkin told BBC Essex that protection of crews was not all about punitive action.

    NHS logo

    "The vast majority of physical assaults on staff are by people who are victims of drug addiction.

    "Even though we work extraordinarily well with other emergency services it is really difficult to get a prosecution if the person is physically unwell because of their addiction," he said.

  16. Crossrail project disruption 'forcing businesses to close'

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    The Crossrail project has had a huge impact on the town of Shenfield which will be a major terminus on the £15bn project to east transport across the south of England.

    But the project has not been a positive experience for all.

    Shenfield shopping

    One shop owner has told BBC Essex the disruption caused by the work has forced some businesses in Shenfield to close.

    Up to 900 people a day have been working on the new train line, which will eventually link the town to Heathrow via central London.

    Kay Thurgood runs a gift shop and says shoppers aren't coming.

    "We've lost an enormous number of car parking spaces and if you don't have places for people to park you do not have customers.

    "Over the past two-and-a-half years we've lost 20% of our footfall and this has forced many businesses to close," she said.

    Crossrail, TFL and Network Rail said no-one was available to comment but work in Shenfield's due to finish by the end of the summer.

  17. Seat belt crackdown nets more than 100 motorists

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    More than 100 drivers were caught at the wheel on Essex roads without a seat belt in a crackdown on Wednesday and three men were arrested on suspicion of drug driving.

    Police carried out the operation in Waltham Abbey "as part of a dedicated operation to help to reduce those killed and seriously injured," a spokesman said.

    View more on twitter

    In addition to 108 drivers dealt with for failing to wear a seat belt, 49 others were found using their mobile phone, including a driving instructor using a mobile phone whilst supervising a learner driver.

    A further 71 drivers were stopped and dealt with for driving in excess of the speed limit.

    "Officers arrested three drivers, a 49-year-old man from London, a 32-year-old man from Hertfordshire and a 29-year-old man from London, on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs," the spokesman said.

    Four drivers were also found to be driving without valid insurance and each driver had their car seized under Section 165.

    A further four drivers were found to be driving without a valid MOT and one driver was found to be driving without a valid licence.

  18. Weather: Hot and humid with threat of thunderstorms

    Elizabeth Rizzini

    BBC Look East weather

    Hot and humid conditions will trigger heavy showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon in many places.

    Not all areas will get them but where they do it could lead to surface water flooding and difficult driving conditions.

    Heavy showers will ease during the evening but more are possible during the early hours near to the coast.

    Minimum Temperature: 15C (59F)

    More details from BBC Weather: