ESSEX County Council’s highways boss says it is time to bring back dedicated A12 police patrols.

Rodney Bass, county councillor responsible for transport, has admitted it was a mistake to scrap the patrols four years ago.

He has asked the Highways Agency to help with funding – and banning lorries overtaking from 6am to 8pm, installing “keep your distance” chevrons and putting up warning signs.

His call came after traffic was caught in five hours of tailbacks – stretching back 17 miles at its peak – after a seven-vehicle crash on the London-bound carriageway near Witham yesterday.

Mr Bass said: “I really think the patrols were very good. They served an excellent purpose and I am willing to commit some of the budget to fund it."

See today's Gazette for the full report.