• Mid-Essex: Rail users report improved service

    A mid-Essex rail watchdog has claimed peak hour rail services are improving for the first time since the Hatfield disaster. Witham and Braintree Rail Users' Association said early morning commuter trains from Braintree and Witham were improving and more

  • Mid-Essex: Hygiene all-clear for health trust

    An amber rating has been awarded to Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust -- meaning that it achieved an acceptable level of cleanliness during unannounced spotchecks. The results were announced by Health Secretary Alan Milburn as he unveiled the first national

  • Essex: Paths set to reopen

    Footpaths across Essex will start to reopen from tomorrow (Friday). Some of those in the Tendring, Chelmsford, and Uttlesford areas will be among the first to reopen, but footpaths with livestock on or nearby will remain closed. Farmers in non-affected

  • South Essex: Rate relief snub anger

    Small businesses in south Essex affected by foot-and-mouth will not get any rate relief because the Government says they are not rural enough. The announcement came today (Thursday) as Tory leader William Hague was meeting Foulness farmer David Hull to

  • Essex: Only three trust sites able to open

    Just three Essex Wildlife Trust centres have been able to reopen in the county despite constant reminders the countryside is ready for business. John Hall, director of the trust, said risk assessments on most of the 93 nature reserves and visitors centres

  • Essex: Liam is engaged to All Saints' Natalie

    There was speculation today (Thursday) of a celebrity mid-Essex wedding after Prodigy star Liam Howlett got engaged to be married to All Saints star Natalie Appleton. Liam, 29, who hails from Braintree, popped the question in London and Natalie said yes

  • Basildon: Ford showroom at 'delicate' stage

    Bosses at car giant Essex Ford today (Thursday) revealed they were in delicate talks over their delayed multi-million pound development in Basildon. Ford last year announced plans for a multi-million pound showroom on a slice of land behind the Festival

  • Soccer: Race against time for Wilnis

    Fabian Wilnis is facing a desperate race against time to be fit for Ipswich Town's weekend clash with Coventry City. The Dutch defender, who missed the 2-1 triumph at Middlesbrough on Monday, has suffered a setback in his bid to shake off an ankle problem

  • Tendring: Cabinet-style council

    A major transformation in the way Tendring Council is run has been agreed. The 60-member council will have an annually-appointed leader plus a cabinet of nine councillors. Once members are appointed by the leader, the cabinet would exercise most of the

  • Witham: Council invests in clean machine

    It is going to cost them a few pennies, but Witham town councillors are sure they have found the perfect solution to cleaning up the town's streets. An order has been placed for a £30,000 automatic street cleaner which, it is hoped, will put an end to

  • Kelvedon: Festival given lottery boost

    The Kelvedon Festival Committee has been awarded £4,880 National Lottery cash to stage a village festival in June. The event will be on June 23 at the recreation ground and follows the success of a music festival in 1999 and the village Millennium Festival

  • Canvey, Castle Point: Dispute over traders' signs

    A war of words has erupted between Canvey 2000 and Castle Point Council over traders' signs. Dennis Williams, chairman of Canvey 2000, angrily slammed council bosses over their treatment of the island's seafront traders over the Easter weekend. He criticised

  • Golf round-up: Pair poised for dream trip...

    A golf trip of a lifetime awaits amateur Bradley Walker and St Cleres Hall PGA professional David Wood if they can come through the next stage of Europe's biggest pro-am competition, the Lombard Trophy. Walker took his first big step towards a luxury

  • Soccer: Same again sees Felmore to final

    Felmore Youth have won their way through to the Southend Junior League's Under-12 Cup final - for the second time this season. Their previous 2-1 win over Falcons Youth was ruled null and void as Felmore fielded an ineligible player. The replay, however

  • Soccer: Alun's dream came true

    Alun Armstrong confessed to being in dreamland after blasting a match-winning two-goal salvo against former club Middlesbrough on Monday. The in-form striker, overlooked during his injury-plagued years on Teesside, returned to haunt his old employers

  • Soccer: Vaughan double is title tonic for Gulls

    Star marksman Wayne Vaughan landed a twin-blow in Kent to keep Canvey Island's Ryman League Premier Division title dream very much alive. For, while Gulls were picking up all three points on their visit to the team immediately below them in the championship

  • Tennis: Ruth off to serve in Australia

    Ruth Illingworth, a member at the Gidea Park Tennis Club, travels to Australia this week to compete in the World Veteran Team Championships. She represents Great Britain in the Over 70's event which is named after the American star Althea Gibson. Illingworth

  • South Essex: Farmers wary of virus vaccination

    Livestock farmers in south Essex have refused to fully back vaccination proposals to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease - until more is known about its likely impact. The Government "accepts in principle'' advice from the chief vet Jim Scudamore

  • Colchester: Council 'kept in dark' over animal pit

    A junior council officer knew burnt animal remains were to be buried in Colchester. But the council was kept in the dark, and last night (Wednesday) concerned councillor Terry Sutton (Lib Dem, Berechurch) wanted to know whether the officer would be disciplined

  • Essex: Force high on sick list

    Essex police officers have an average of 13.8 days off sick a year - one of the worst sickness records in Britain - according to a new report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. The inspection, in January, also indicated that huge strides have

  • Dovercourt: Woman charged with murder

    A 22-year-old woman has appeared before Colchester magistrates today (Thursday) charged with murdering her husband. Nicola Meachen, a care assistant from Cliff Road, Dovercourt, was charged following an incident in Harwich on Tuesday. She has been remanded

  • Mid-Essex: Visit by Hague

    William Hague is coming to the Maldon district today to meet farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis. The leader of the opposition will be joined by his advisor, Maldon and South Chelmsford MP John Whittingdale as he tours farms in Southminster

  • Clacton: Pensioner run over by disabled scooter

    A battered and bruised pensioner has told how she was in collision with a man driving a disabled scooter the wrong way down a one-way street in Clacton town centre. The 76-year-old, who did not want to be named, warned others to keep a careful watch for

  • Essex: Renewed hope for rail users

    Commuters were offered the hope of an improvement in running times of trains beginning yesterday (Tuesday). Restrictions have been in place since the fatal Hatfield rail crash more than six months ago and rail passengers have faced both major and minor

  • Chelmsford: Shop assistant flees as man goes berserk

    A terrified shop assistant locked himself in a store cupboard after a crazed customer threatened him with a knife. The thug calmly walked into the store brandishing a kitchen knife and when the shop assistant, a man aged 29, asked if he could help, the

  • Maldon: Piece of history returns to town

    A piece of history is being returned to the people of Maldon. The silver cradle, which marks the mayorship of Alderman Edward Fitch more than 100 years ago, in 1888, is due to be donated to the Maldon District Museum in a ceremony next month. Presented

  • Maldon: Big ship, small world!

    A couple from Maldon were amazed after bumping into two sets of old friends on a world cruise. Leslie and Eve Flower, of Wantz Chase, were stunned to find the old acquaintances, who they had not seen for about 50 years, were at their dinner table on board

  • Tendring: Residents plea for a clean-up

    Clean up our district! That's the plea from residents in Tendring who are calling for major efforts to improve the environment. From Frating to Frinton, they have complained about the state of roads, footpaths and grass verges. And many long-standing

  • South Woodham: New inspector in town

    South Woodham's new police inspector is hoping that his experience in community policing will benefit the town. Inspector Gary Coxhead has been in the force for 26 years, and has been stationed at various Essex locations, including Chelmsford, Colchester

  • Leigh: Youngsters go wild for the week

    Safari so goodie! That was the cry of delighted youngsters as they packed out a Leigh church's annual holiday Bible club, The Really, Really Wild Show. More than 100 children aged between five and 11-years-old have been taking part in a host of fun activities

  • Soccer: Blues check out Amos

    Southend United are running the rule over trainee West Ham striker Amos Foyewa, who played the full 90 minutes of yesterday's (Wednesday's) Roots Hall reserve team draw with Bristol Rovers. But despite demonstrating a lightning turn of pace and some nice

  • Boxing: Flash, bang, wallop at club show

    Cameras from Channel 4 were on hand to film some of the action for a forthcoming documentary at Canvey ABA's well-supported junior boxing show at Astairs Nightclub, All bouts were well matched with clubs from Kent plus south and east London going into

  • Running: Dad's inspiration for marathon

    A woman has been inspired by her father's courage to run the London marathon in aid of the Chelmsford Centre for the Blind. Collette Morris, 39, will run Sunday's marathon in aid of the centre where her father Sadru Bhanji is treasurer. From an early

  • Weeley: Meet the McDucklings!

    These lucky little McDucklings should not go short of food as they have hatched in the undergrowth outside Tendring's first drive-through restaurant. The mallards were already living on site when the McDonalds at Weeley was being built earlier this year

  • Jaywick: Work to start on new road scheme

    Work on a major £250,000 road scheme for Jaywick is due to start later this year. Essex County Council has approved the money to be spent on the reconstruction of Midway and the project will be the start of an upgrade for many other subsidiary roads.

  • Basildon: Hospital 'unaffected' by doctor fraud

    A scheming doctor convicted of carrying out the largest one-man fraud of the National Health Service did not fleece Basildon Hospital. It was thought Dr Dimitri Padelis, 45, targeted the hospital as part of a UK-wide scam in which he swindled health trusts

  • Essex: County named as big cat hot-spot

    Essex was today (Thursday) officially named as one of the top ten "big cat" sighting spots in the country. Ten of the 487 recorded sightings of strange feline shadows in the undergrowth or the haze of an oversized moggy dashing across a road, were in

  • Southend: TV chef James whisks into action

    TV chef James Martin cooked up a storm when he whisked into Southend for a series of cookery demonstrations. The popular chef, who usually sports his trademark bandana on Ready Steady Cook, kept youngsters captivated with top tips on how to rustle up

  • Leigh: I'm sorry, sir... but you're dead!

    A bank customer has told how he tried to sell his shares - only to be told he was dead. Michael Bishop claimed he was forced to take identification into his Halifax branch to prove he was alive after his shares were transferred to the name of an unknown

  • Chelmsford: Fears knifeman could strike again

    Detectives hunting a knifeman who went berserk in a Chelmsford off-licence believe that he could strike again. At one stage, the frenzied robber tried to reach the terrified part-time shop assistant who had locked himself in a store room to escape. Shouting

  • Basildon: Belltower joker puts up sale sign

    For a brief moment it looked as if Basildon's belltower had been put on the market. Bemused passers-by stopped in their tracks yesterday (Wednesday) after a For Sale sign was pinned to metal fencing surrounding the town's unfinished landmark. However,

  • South Essex round-up: Boy blinded in spray attack....

    A 17-year-old boy was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance and robbed of £10 and credit cards. After being temporarily blinded, the victim was told to empty his pockets and walk away. Witnesses to the attack, in Chase Road, Southend at 10.15pm

  • Maldon: More road chaos in town centre

    Just two weeks after Maldon High Street reopened, yet more roadworks are causing hold-ups. The main street was shut off to traffic for months while a controversial scheme was carried out to widen the pavements at the top end of the road. Shoppers stayed

  • Basildon: Incinerator could drive down property prices

    Plans to build a waste incinerator in Basildon could cause a drop in property prices, experts say. Campaigners are to fight proposals for the waste burner in Courtauld Road, Burnt Mills, which they say will ruin the environment. Basildon estate agents

  • Soccer: Gulls' thoughts turn to Trophy

    While they continue their fight for Ryman League Premier Division title honours, thoughts at Canvey Island are turning to the most important game in the club's history. On May 13 at Premiership Aston Villa's home, Gulls take on Nationwide Conference Forest

  • Soccer round-up: South East Essex Sunday League

    Runwell Raiders pulled off an 8-4 win at Old Island Boys A in the South-East Essex Sunday League's Premier Division Group A Cup thanks to four goals from Whitney. Church scored threee and Davis one. Harrison, Wisby and an own goal were responsible for

  • Soccer: Izzet hopes goal is first of many

    The past few weeks have been memorable for Colchester United new boy Kemal Izzet. First he had a Football League debut to celebrate and now, just three games later, he's scored a first League goal during Tuesday's 2-2 tie with Peterborough at Layer Road

  • Soccer: Tolson breaking through pain barrier

    Southend United striker Neil Tolson has revealed he is looking forward to a medication-free footballing future. The 27-year-old hitman made his long-awaited comeback for Blues' reserves last week, playing 45 minutes and setting up a goal in a 2-1 defeat

  • Colchester: Radical moves to cut homeless

    People waiting for council accommodation will get just one choice of house in a bid to cut homelessness in Colchester. Councillors have passed a range of measures which came about after council officers were asked to "think the unthinkable" to solve the

  • Soccer: Villa Park impresses Gulls

    Canvey Island soccer officials had their first taste of the Premiership big-time when they visited Aston Villa's home and admitted to being "gobsmacked" at the facilities. Gulls will be at Villa Park on May 13 when they take on Forest Green Rovers for

  • Colchester: MP in head-on car crash

    Colchester MP Bob Russell was left shocked and shaken but unhurt after a head-on car crash in the town. Mr Russell was returning home alone from a slide display on the history of the Hythe when the accident happened at about 9.15pm last night. He was

  • Colchester: Car park reopens

    A Colchester car park forced to close for six days after travellers moved on to the site has today (Thursday) reopened. Three hundred town-centre workers rely on the car park at Sheepen Place, and its enforced closure has put pressure on parking space

  • Colchester: Cruise firm not in breach of contract

    Two couples whose dream cruise did not meet their hopes have lost their case against the operator. A judge told them just because it did not live up to a trip one pair had taken 13 years ago, that did not mean the cruise firm was in breach of contract

  • Colchester: Candid camera to snap pests in charity shop

    Nuisance youngsters who have been intimidating customers and staff in a charity shop could soon find themselves caught on camera. During the school holidays, groups of youths have been causing trouble in the Colchester Children's Care Centre shop in Mersea

  • Braintree: Residents' group to fight vandals

    A new action group is being created to help residents fight anti-social behaviour on a Braintree housing estate. After a meeting with council tenants on the Glebe estate, officers from Braintree Council have highlighted the importance of tenants working

  • Tendring: Special service for parents

    A service of remembrance is to be held for parents in Tendring who have lost a baby. Hospital chaplains have organised the service at St James' Church, Wash Lane, Clacton, on Tuesday at 7.30pm. Afterwards there will be coffee and the chance to talk to

  • Colchester: Quest for ancient temple

    A team of archaeologists hope to uncover an ancient temple thought to be under the St Mary's Hospital site in Colchester. Experienced excavators from Colchester Archaeological Trust on Tuesday started work on a dig which could also save buried relics

  • Chelmsford, Thundersley: Paul to jump off County Hall roof

    Teenager Paul Hudson is planning to jump off the side of Chelmsford's County Hall in the name of charity on April 29. The daredevil 16-year-old is to join dozens of other fundraisers for a big day of abseiling and rap jumping - running down a building

  • Essex: Rubbish clean-up on A12

    Parts of the A12 will be closed from Saturday to clean up piles of rubbish along its sides. Braintree Council staff will start to clear litter on a 15km stretch of road between Hatfield Peverel and the district's boundary with Colchester borough, just

  • Clacton: Car vandals go on rampage

    Vandals went on the rampage, damaging at least 15 cars in Clacton town centre. Reports started flooding in to police on Tuesday and this morning as the damage was discovered by owners of the vehicles. PC Dave Lawrence, of Clacton police, said that most

  • Thorpe le Soken: Three to go on trial over death

    Two men and a woman are to face trial in November over the Thorpe le Soken "body-in-the-cupboard" killing. The three appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court and denied murdering 24-year-old Justin Chant, whose body was found in a flat at Byng Close last November

  • Maldon: Council bid for meals-on-wheels

    Maldon district councillors have recommended the council submits a tender for the management and delivery of meals-on-wheels in the district. It is part of a shake-up of the service from next April. Essex County Council envisages the service in the county

  • Witham: Resident anger at dumped rubbish

    Piles of rubbish dumped in the street outside his home in Humber Road have angered Witham man Charles Taylor. He said that the piles had risen steadily over the four and a half years since he moved to the town. "I have phoned the council so many times

  • Soccer: Vaughan keeps Canvey on course

    Canvey's leading scorer Wayne Vaughan reached the landmark of 25 goals in his first season at Park Lane as Gulls kept up their fantastic bid for Ryman League Premier Division honours last night (Wednesday). The 21-year-old former England Youth international

  • Soccer: College students show Houllier the way

    The students of Colchester Sixth Form College could be the envy of Gerard Houllier's Liverpool. They've just returned victorious from Barcelona after winning the Calafell Cup from a four-team soccer tournament. Colchester beat Casta dell Fel 4-2 in their

  • Soccer: Rovers use youth power

    It was a case of youth to the fore for Great Wakering Rovers at their Burroughs Park home last night (Wednesday) as the village side won their East Anglian Cup area final clash with Jewson League Ipswich Wanderers. And the youngsters who came in did manager

  • Soccer: Billericay's Sutton battle

    Billericay Town, currently ninth in the table, will be hoping to continue their Easter Monday form when they travel to Sutton United in the Ryman League Premier Division tonight (Thursday). The New Lodge side were in splendid Bank Holiday spirits three

  • Soccer: Referee's funeral

    The funeral of referee Mike North will be held at Witchampton Methodist chapel in Dorset at 12 noon next Wednesday. The 41-year-old Poole official died after collapsing from a suspected heart attack during Southend's Third Division match against Mansfield

  • Racing: Racetrack battle set for court

    Essex showground owner John Holmes is taking legal action in his bid to create his own racetrack. He plans to build Britain's first new race track for 70 years at the Great Leighs showground near Braintree. However, the Great Leighs bypass route will

  • Dovercourt: Woman charged with murder

    A 22-year-old woman has appeared before Colchester magistrates today (Thursday) charged with murdering her husband. Nicola Meachen, a care assistant from Cliff Road, Dovercourt, was charged following an incident in Harwich on Tuesday. She has been remanded

  • Essex: Joanne wants to be top of the cops

    Move over Emma Bunton, here comes Essex police officer Joanne Barry. The Spice Girl may be top of the pops at the moment, but PC Barry, based at Stansted Airport, has set her sights on number one by releasing a single. Her cover version of the Indie band

  • Westcliff: Driver hits hijack man with phone

    An attempted hijack was foiled after a woman driver fought off a man using her mobile phone as a weapon. The 32-year-old target was waiting at a set of traffic lights in Westcliff when a man got into her white Peugeot 106 through the passenger door. A