A STUNNING close-up of a dragonfly captured in Colchester has won a wildlife charity's prestigious annual photography competition.

Andrew Neal's photo of a common darter dragonfly, captured at Hythe Lagoons, was chosen by judges as the best shot in the Pattern and Texture category of the Essex Wildlife Trust awards.

The Colchester resident was also crowned the overall winner of the competition after a public vote.

Gazette: Competition winner Andrew NealCompetition winner Andrew Neal

He said: "I caught sight of a common darter dragonfly perched on top of a small plant along the ditch and quickly grabbed my macro lens.

"Fortunately, due to the drop in temperature and time of day, the dragonfly was very cooperative, giving me the opportunity to compose the shot at the right angle so a solitary buttercup on the ground below provided a nice splash of colour."

This year's competition was record-breaking, with more than 500 images entered by more than 250 participants.

Mr Neal added: "I'm absolutely over the moon to have been voted the overall winner of the competition, particularly as there were so many striking images which won their respective categories. To have won the overall vote on top of being selected by the judges as a category winner means a great deal.”

This year's competition opens in September.