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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    Presenter Michael Barrymore has joined forces with one of Maldon's well-known personalities to launch a new TV show.

    Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, one of Britain's first gay fathers, will be co-hosting a new talent show, Stealing The Limelight, alongside the comedian and presenter.

    The show is aiming to provide a platform for performers with a multitude of talents as is open to contestants doing anything from singing, to poetry, to art or presenting.

    Barrie said: "We are holding auditions all up and down the country for people to come with their talents and show us what they can do.

    "It's different as people in the studio, people at home and the crew can all vote."

    Gay dad from Maldon to link up with Michael Barrymore for TV show


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    Firefighters tackled a blaze by Clacton Rugby club in the early hours of this morning.

    After receiving a large number of calls about the fire on Valleybridge Road, which involved a number of gas cylinders, the emergency service arrived to put out the blaze.

    The fire crew used two hose reel jets and were able to extinguish the fire by 1:12am.

    Firefighters put out blaze near Clacton Rugby Club


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    A grandmother whose dog was poisoned to death after a walk in Hylands Park in Chelmsford has warned fellow owners to be on high alert when out in the city amid fears chemicals from an ongoing woodchip pile blaze in Mountnessing are endangering the lives of pets and children.

    Pauline Bose's two four-year-old springer spaniels Dylan and Jasper fell ill on Monday (September 1) after playing in the River Wid in Hylands Park.

    After returning home with her pets, she went out herself later in the day, and was devastated to return home to find Dylan had died. 

    Jasper, who was ill, was rushed to The Pet Clinic in Blackmore, where he remains in a serious condition with kidney and liver damage after being kept in overnight for treatment.

    The cause of the poisoning is unclear, as a post-mortem examination has been delayed until blood tests can be completed.

    News of the incident spread rapidly across social media at the start of the week, and Mrs Bose believes there should have been some form of official warning.

     "I just want to warn other people about the dangers that might be there," Mrs Bose said. "Other walkers shouldn't let their dogs go near the water.

    "There should have been a prior warning about the leaked chemicals.

    "My advice would be not to let (their dogs) go near the water. My grandchildren have been in floods of tears."

    Notes were pushed through the doors of people living close to the River Wid yesterday (September 2), stating: "I have no idea how long the risk will remain but certainly it would be wise to keep dogs out of the river for the time being."

    The tragedy happened some weeks after fire broke out at 5,000 tonne woodpile in Thoby Lane, Mountnessing, which prompted Environment Agency officials to warn people to stay away from the water.

    Fire crews remain on the scene and people living nearby have been advised to keep their windows and doors closed. However, the smoke is not toxic.

    Devastated dog owner's warning after suspected fatal poisoning of pet spaniel folllowing walk in Hylands Park


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    3rd September is when Britain entered World War Two.   I think that's worth ten questions … 
    Q1)3rd September, 1939, saw Great Britain declare war on Germany, after Germany invaded where … ?
    Q2)Germany invaded in order to gain access to which city?
    Q3)Britain declared war on Germany: in conjunction with three other countries.   Name one of those countries.
    Q4)Britain and its allies eventually became known as what?
    Q5)Germany and its allies were collectively known as the what Powers?
    Q6)Name either of Germany's other two main allies.
    Q7)3rd September, 1939 saw Britain and France blockade Germany.   Which of the allies armed forces would've carried out much of the blockade: their armies, navies or air-forces?
    Q8)The period from September '39 to the Battle of France is known as what: the Phoney War, the Fake War or the Philistine's War?
    Q9)In which year was the Battle of France: 1940, 1941 or 1942?
    Q10)Finally … roughly how many civilian deaths did Britain suffer, during World War 2: 67000, 77000 or 87000?
    Here's lastweek'squestions and answers … 
    Questions.
    Q1)27th August saw the completion of the Rainbow Bridge: in which Asian country is the Bridge?
    Q2)The bridge is in that country's capital city.   What's the name of that city?
    Q3)The bridge was completed in which year of the 1990s: 1991, 1993 or 1995?
    Q4)This Rainbow Bridge is the only one of that name in it's country.   How many Rainbow Bridges are there in the USA?
    Q5)Name any of the US states those bridges are in.
    Q6)Which English University city has a Rainbow Bridge: Brighton, Cambridge or Oxford?
    Q7)In Norse mythology, the Rainbow Bridge goes from Midgard, the human world, to Asgard, the realm of the Gods.   What's it called: Bifrost, Yggdrasil or Ragnarok?
    Q8)Who — in 1971 — released an album called 'Rainbow Bridge': roughly a year after his death … ?
    Q9)'Rainbow Bridge' was also an episode of which US comedy series: 'M*A*S*H', 'SeinfeldFriends'?
    Q10)Finally … 'Rainbow Bridge' is also a 1963, Japanese cartoon film.   What name is given to this kind of film: anime or manga?
    Answers.
    A1)Japan.
    A2)Tokyo.   (It's in a part of Tokyo called Minato: Minato is what's called a 'Special Ward', analogous to a London Borough.)
    A3)1993.
    A4)Four.
    A5)Kansas, New York, Texas and Washington State.   (The Rainbow Bridge in New York has one end in the city of Niagara Falls, New York, and the other in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.   It goes over the Niagara Falls.   Obviously.)
    A6)Oxford.   (There's another bridge in Oxford that's referred the Rainbow Bridge: it's more correctly called the Medley Footbridge.)
    A7)Bifrost.   (Yggdrasil was the World Tree: the tree the Norse believed everything was connected to.   Ragnarok was their version of the End Of The World.)
    A8)Jimi Hendrix.
    A9)'M*A*S*H'.
    A10)Anime.
    If you'd like a frequent challenge, you can visit Nik Nak's Old Peculiar, and try the Daily Teaser: today's is at the top.If you need quiz questions in a hurry, you're also welcome: you'll find the free Friday Questions Sets— covered by the Creative Commons License* — very handy.Movie fans are welcome, too: as are Dr Who fans.   I tend to write about them, too.If you enjoy what I do, and wish to contribute, feel free to click the PayPal Donate button in the Old Peculiar's sidebar.   Every penny is gratefully received.

    Enjoy the week, folks.




    *        All that means is that you're free to copy, use, alter and build on each of my quizzes: including the Teasers, Gazette Teasers and the Friday Question Sets.   All I ask in return is that you give me an original authors credit on your event's flyers or posters, or on the night: and, if you republish them, give me an original authors credit AND republish under the same license.   A link back to the site — and to the Chronicle's, if that's where you've found these — would be appreciated: as would pressing my donate button, here.   Every penny is gratefully received.

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    A clip has been posted to YouTube of a bizarre stand-off between motorists in a residential road, which came to an abrupt end only after the police arrived.

    The video, filmed by Charlie Jennings on the afternoon of Saturday (August 30) and posted on Monday (September 1), shows a green Ford Focus blocking Pelly Avenue in Witham, preventing cars from driving down towards Laurence Avenue.

    One Pelly Avenue onlooker, who claims to be a police officer, threatens to have the driver arrested if she does not move during the incident shortly before 1pm on August 30.

    And about 90 seconds into the video, the police arrive and the driver is asked to get out of her car.

    A police spokesman said: "Police arrived after a car was reported to be obstructing the road. Officers spoke to the driver and gave words of advice and the matter was resolved and the road cleared in a few minutes."

    VIDEO: Police stand-off after woman stops in the middle of the road and refuses to move her car


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    A man with more than 35 convictions to his name has been jailed for eight weeks for assaulting a homeless man.

    Thomas Pitt, 34, of Hunts Close, Writtle, was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (September 2) after admitting to the attack on the previous day.

    The court heard Pitt, whose previous convictions relate to a total of 70 offences, assaulted a man on Stone Bridge, between High Street and Moulsham Street, at about 2.30pm.

    Eyewitness George Lowe said he saw security officials from the Meadows shopping centre jog to the scene before police arrived and escorted both men, one of them with his rucksack and sleeping bag, to the police station.

    No compensation was ordered to the victim, believed to be homeless.

    Pitt was jailed because the assault took place in a public place in the middle of the day, as well as his numerous previous convictions for violence and a refusal to comply with previous court orders.

    Chelmsford man Thomas Pitt jailed for 8 weeks for attack on homeless man


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    A cabbie stabbed a Tesco worker with an eight-inch metal car tool after a dispute over parking escalated out of control, a court heard.

    Isaac Carter, 24, kicked Mehdi Masoudi's people carrier and punched him around the face in the Viaduct Road taxi rank in Chelmsford.

    Jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court were told how 31-year-old taxi driver Masoudi reacted by grabbing a car towing eye from his cab, chasing Mr Carter up a flight of stairs, before stabbing him in the back "three times".

    Giving evidence yesterday (September 2), Mr Carter said: "He was going f***ing mad at me."

    Mr Carter said that on the evening of Wednesday, June 12 last year, he walked from his flat in Wells Crescent to the ground floor in Viaduct Road to collect £10 his cousin owed him.

    Yet his cousin pulled up on double yellow lines, blocking the taxi rank in front, and provoking Masoudi to flash his lights.

    "He was also shouting, swearing and being aggressive to my cousin's young family which is threatening," said Mr Carter.

    "I told him to stop shouting and swearing because there were children in the car.

    "He said 'this is part of a taxi rank' and moved towards me in an aggressive manner and I kicked his taxi which I admit I shouldn't have done.

    "I lost my temper and I admit that was stupid."

    'Left hook'

    After his cousin had driven away, the pair allegedly continued a shouting match before Mr Carter is seen on CCTV swinging a left hook at Masoudi, who had stepped out of the taxi.

    "I hit him with a left hook and he sort of wobbled and that's when he ran back towards his taxi," said Mr Carter.

    Masoudi is indeed seen grabbing an implement from the car, before allegedly stabbing him in the back in Mr Carter's doorway upstairs.

    "It was more than three times, maybe five," said Mr Carter.

    "It really hurt but I was quite adrenalin filled so I didn't feel much. 

    "He then pushed me over so he was on top of me on the floor and I put my arms around the outside of his and squeezed him so he couldn't gouge my back full power.

    "He was also trying to headbutt me and was shouting at me.

    "I didn't know what he had in his hands so I potentially thought I could die."

    'Lots of arguments'

    Masoudi then drove away but was tracked and arrested by police, while Mr Carter was taken to hospital with bruising and gashes to his back.

    While cross examining Mr Carter's evidence, Masoudi's barrister Sasha Bailey singled out the store assistant's grudge against taxi drivers' behaviour in Viaduct Road.

    Mr Carter has complained to Chelmsford City Council and British Transport Police, arguing that cabbies are treating part of Viaduct Road, outside of the designated taxi rank, as a collection point.

    The court also heard that taxis had blocked an ambulance that was taking Mr Carter to hospital with second degree burns on a previous occasion.

    He said: "I don't hate all taxi drivers. If they followed the rules like everyone else I wouldn't have lots of arguments with them."

    Masoudi, formerly of Taylor Avenue, Chelmsford, denies one count of causing actual bodily harm and one count of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

    Mr Carter does not face any charges.

    The trial continues.

    Taxi driver Mehdi Masoudi 'stabbed Chelmsford Tesco worker with car tool after parking dispute'


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    As summer draws to a close, for many it's a time of disappointment. Those glorious days of bathing in the sun will all be over, and in its place will be the cooler nights and rainy days of autumn.

    But that's nothing to get upset about. From blackberry picking to the beautiful landscapes, you'll find there's still plenty to get excited about this season:

    Staying in by the fire

    The days may be getting shorter, but that just means that there's more of the night to enjoy. Is there anything more homely than being curled up next to the fire on a cold autumn evening? Throw in the return of some decent Sunday night television and a warm cup of cocoa and you've got the perfect night in.

    Hot dinners

    Warm dinners are available all year round, but in summer, they're just not quite the same. When it comes round to autumn though, those dinners really start to hit the spot. Whether it's a hot shepherd's pie, a piping Sunday roast, or stew and dumplings, autumn is when you can really appreciate them.

    Picking fruits

    Summer is a season of growth. The season offers ideal conditions for various fruits and berries to develop and ripen. Autumn though, is when you can have all the fun of picking summer's work. Taking the kids blackberry picking around the local forest is a popular venture, just make sure you don't leave it too late, otherwise they'll all be gone.

    Playing conkers

    As well as picking fruits, just as enjoyable for children can be to uncover conkers fallen from a horse chestnut tree. It has become a rite of passage in the playground for kids to seek out the strongest conker they possibly can to do battle with their friends. 

    Stunning sunsets

    Sunsets in autumn tend to be far more vivid than those in summer. With the earth tilting away from the Sun's rays, there is further for the light to travel. This means that the blue light on the spectrum gets more scattered, and less of it reaches our eyes. The result of this is far more reds, oranges and pinks lighting up our skies, and it makes for a stunning sight.

    The leaves fall off the trees

    Another sight to take your breath away is the changing colour of the leaves. Those reds and oranges cover the countryside and make for a striking landscape. The gradual cascade of these leaves to the ground is another special sight to witness, and makes for a delightful transition after the greens of summer.

    Morning dew

    The mornings may be colder, and it may be harder to get out of bed in the morning, but with this comes the spectacle of dew on the grass. At times, sparkling like a sea of diamonds, the view makes for a perfect way to start your morning. It can make the cooler conditions almost worth it.

    Autumn wildlife

    Autumn is a time when we host many new varieties of wildlife to our shores. The pink-footed goose is one animal to keep an eye out for as it migrates from the north, although mainly on the coast. Also worth going to see if you can are red deer. Autumn is when male deer finish developing their antlers, and begin to compete against rival males for the females.

    Cooler nights

    One thing many of us will not miss about summer is the swelteringly warm summer nights. The conditions can make it very difficult to get sleep. To further compound this misery, the early sunrise which wakes people early in the mornings makes for a disruptive evening all round. With darker mornings and cooler nights we can all expect a more comfortable

    New fashions

    With the drop in temperature, what may have been 'in' in the summer is no longer quite right for autumn. Replacing it comes a whole new line of warmer autumn clothing. For fashionistas this causes much excitement, as they finally get the chance to try out that new jumper or new boots they've been waiting to try out. 

    Conkers, Downton Abbey and roast dinners: 10 reasons to be happy autumn's nearly here


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    BRAINTREE Town skipper Kenny Davis says he isn't surprised boss Alan Devonshire's name was touted for the Colchester United manager's job.

    The post at the Weston Homes Community Stadium became available on Monday when Joe Dunne agreed to leave the U's by mutual consent, after they'd taken just one point from five games and were second from bottom in League One.

    Devonshire, who has earned praise for the way he has not only kept part-time Braintree in the Conference Premier, but took them close to the play-offs last season, was hotly tipped to succeed Dunne.

    However, the U's opted to promoted Academy boss Tony Humes instead.

    Davis said on Devonshire's link: "I'm not surprised at all. Being a local team they know about Braintree and the players and Dan Holman's gone there.

    "Obviously he [Devonshire]has played at the highest level and I think Colchester's the sort of team where he would fit the bill and he would be successful.

    "He's done a great job at Braintree so I can see why he'd get linked."

    Braintree skipper not surprised by Devonshire's Colchester link


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    BRITISH motorcycling fans were not disappointed at last weekend's Moto GP round at Silverstone with at least one home grown rider winning an event.

    Danny Buchan, from Burnham on Crouch gave the crowd something to cheer as he proudly graced the top step of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 podium with the British national anthem ringing out across the arena.

    The Tsingtao Racing rider onboard the Kawasaki ZX10R had earlier achieved his seventh victory of the season beating his arch rival Jason O'Halloran into second place with Lee Jackson in third.


    This win gives him a 53 points advantage at the top of the table and with just three rounds remaining the 21-year-old could, with a top three finish, clinch the title this coming Sunday at Donington Park.

    Practice and qualifying as usual were very close with Buchan setting the fastest time in practice and O'Halloran taking pole position in qualifying.

    As the lights went out Buchan grabbed the lead from O'Halloran and Joe Burns but was unable to open up a gap from his Championship rival.

    O'Halloran, true to form, was pushing hard and closing down the leader and on lap four passed Buchan into first place. As in previous races Buchan regrouped and by half distance the Kawasaki rider had resumed his rightful position in the lead.

    The two protagonists circulated closely vying for the lead when the safety car was deployed to enable the marshals to clean up the debris from a crash involving Deane Brown who emerged unscathed.

    Inevitably the leaders lost their advantage as the pack closed up waiting for the race to resume and as the safety car left the track Buchan timed his restart to perfection. He gaining enough of an advantage to ward off the attentions of O'Halloran until the end of the race taking the chequered flag and another impressive victory.

    "We had a great weekend as part of the MotoGP circus at Silverstone," said Buchan. "We had mega pace all weekend, but after the first qualifying session we had to make some changes to the bike as we were half a second off the pole time.

    "We got the gap down to 0.080sec, which put us in a good place for the race. Then in the race I just got my head down and chipped away and focused on being consistent.

    "When the safety car came out in my mind I knew I had grip in certain parts of the track, so my plan was to push on through those and we got the gap to 1.8 seconds; after that the race was over.
    "It's great to see the big effort we put in away from the circuit paying off on track. We are close to the championship, but as usual I am going to take each race as it comes and remain focused on the job in hand."

    Danny Buchan closes in on Superstock championship


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    A dad-of-two left scarred for life after an unprovoked chemical liquid attack has described how he thought his face was melting when a liquid was sprayed in his face.

    Wayne Ingold, 56, was checking his post at his flat in Bramble Road Witham at around 10.45am on August 8 when he noticed a man banging at the communal door.

    As he opened the door the man shouted "55", but when Mr Ingold said he didn't live at 55 a second man squirted the unknown caustic chemical in his face from what he described as a "sports bottle".

    "At first I thought to myself 'why is this guy squirting his juice in my face?' then the pain hit me and it felt as if my face was melting. It took me back to my school days with the smell of acid.

    "As I put my hand up to protect myself, the guy carried on spraying it down my back, neck and shoulder. I ran inside screaming in pain.

    'I was just screaming down the phone'

    "I took some of it in the mouth and swallowed it, it turned my face and some of my teeth black.

    "I managed to get to the phone and call 999, I was just screaming down the phone for them to come quick. It felt like it took 10 hours for them to come, but it was more like 10 minutes.

    Wayne Ingold was left with horrific burns

    "If it wasn't for the paramedics' quick thinking it could have been a lot worse, they rushed me into the shower and washed me down for ages – I'd really like to thank them," said Wayne, who has been unable to stay in his Witham flat since the attack.

    He added: "The police came and saw my face, they couldn't believe it. I thought one of them was going to be sick – I have that effect on people."

    An air ambulance was rushed to the scene, but Mr Ingold was then taken by land ambulance to the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital. 

    He was treated for three days then released but warned he could go into shock.

    "By the following Wednesday I started to feel really unwell, I think it must have been an infection, I probably tried to do too much too quickly," he said.

    'Raw steaks'

    Mr Ingold, who ran a successful chauffeur business from 2002 until 2006 taking the likes of Simon Cowell, Meat Loaf, Michael Bublé and Julie Walters to film premieres and gala bashes, has since undergone weeks of painful skin grafts to repair the damage.

    He added: "My legs looked like raw steaks, but the doctors are happy with the way the grafts have taken and I have to moisturise my skin daily." 

    some_text

    Police suspect he Mr Ingold was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    He said: "Until a few weeks ago my face was still black. I just want to know what gives them the right to do this to an innocent person, to destroy my life and my son's and daughters, we've all been through hell.

    "I still feel terrible, all my confidence is on the floor, I still get flashbacks of a guy throwing the acid on me then running around the corner."

    "But I'm not going to let them beat me. I'll come back, you can't mope around that doesn't help anyone – I'm dreaming of getting my Mercedes again.

    "I just want them caught and brought to justice. If they can do it to me they can do it to someone else."

    Police have since issued two e-fits of people they wish to question in relation to the attack. On August 9 a 19-year-old man was arrested and released on bail pending further enquiries 

    Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police at Braintree CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    Ex-Simon Cowell chauffeur describes how it felt as though his 'face was melting' after shock acid attack


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    A MAN has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a crash involving a red Fiat Panda and a bicycle this evening (September 3).

    The incident on the A138 Chelmer Road happened at about 4.30pm and the cyclist, an elderly man, was taken to Broomfield Hospital.

    He is described as being "seriously hurt" but his injuries are not life-threatening.

    The road was closed in both directions at the Sandford Road turn off as a result  and it was still reported closed at 5.10pm.

    Speaking to the Chronicle from the scene PC Discombe said: "There has been an accident between a car and a pushbike and a gentleman has been taken to hospital and his injuries are not known at this point."

    At 6.05pm, PC Discombe said the junction would remain closed for at least another 30 minutes and possibly for another hour.

    At that time traffic travelling in both directions between Sanford Road's junction with Springfield Road, beside Chelmsford prison, and its junction with Chelmer Road, was at a standstill.

    NOTE: We initially reported the accident involved a man in his 20s  on a motorcycle, as told to us by the East of England Ambulance Service. Essex Police has since told that the victim was in fact an elderly cyclist and no motorcycle was involved.

    Elderly cyclist seriously injured in crash between car and cyclist at Chelmer Road, Chelmsford


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    Environment Agency officials are checking ponds in Hylands Park for blue green algae amid ongoing fears dogs could be at risk from water in Chelmsford.

    Pollution from the ongoing Mountnessing woodchip pile fire was originally blamed the death of a springer spaniel, which was taken for a walk in Hylands Park on Monday (September 1).

    Notes were pushed through the doors warning people to keep their dogs away from the River Wid, which cuts through the site.

    But the agency today confirmed tests had shown up no signs of pollution from the Mountnessing fire, ruling it out as the cause of any potential pet-related health fears.

    It comes after four-year-old springer spaniels Dylan and Joseph fell ill shortly after being taken for a walk in Hylands. Dylan subsequently died, while Joseph remains in a serious condition.

    Blue green algae - what do we know?

    • The substance is usually suspended within water or attached to rocks
    • They are usually gathered in green clumps, or brown dots
    • They can also cause foaming on the top of water, turning the water greem
    • Blue green algae can also cause deadly toxins to be released - *pet owners are warned to keep their animals away*
    • For humans, they can cause rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, and joint pain
    • Not all are toxic - but you can never be sure

    Anyone concerned after a sighting, should  call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. Keep children and pets away from the water.

    Environment Agency: Dog death 'not caused by Mountnessing fire pollution'


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    CHELMSFORD City have sold Glen Southam to Sutton United for an undisclosed fee.

    As part of the deal City have the option to sign United's Lee Sawyer permanently at the end of his three month loan deal at Melbourne Stadium.

    The 34-year-old, who captained Eastleigh to the Conference South title last season, made six appearances for City, scoring two goals.

    A statement on the Clarets' website read: "'It is with regret that Chelmsford City FC announce Glen Southam is to leave the club.

    "Glen informed the manager he wished to return to full-time football. Subsequently, the club received a very good fee from Sutton United with the option of Lee Sawyer remaining at the club for the rest of the season. The management team believes this will benefit the team whilst releasing funds to further strengthen the current squad.

    "The Supporters' Club is disappointed to have learnt the news that Glen Southam will be leaving the club. Glen was brought to the club through the help of the 12th Man initiative, one of the fundraisers of the Supporters' Club.

    "It was decided in the summer to change the format of the 12th Man fund and to build up funds towards a specific player to help add to the playing budget. This way also gave the management team extra finances to add further quality to the squad while formatting their plans over the summer.

    "Glen leaving is not ideal and extremely unfortunate. Since his arrival the 12th Man fundraiser has seen a dramatic rise in popularity. The Supporters' Club would like to categorically state that all funds committed to the 12th Man for the entire season will remain ring-fenced as additional funds to go towards the playing budget.

    "The 12th Man funds will be used to find a replacement of equal quality, who will be our new 12th Man player. This has only been made possible by the huge generosity of all supporters who have helped make up the funds for which the football club and our management team continue to be extremely grateful."

    Chelmsford City sell Southam to Sutton United


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    CHELMSFORD City have strengthened their defence with the signing of Torquay United's Kirtys MacKenzie.

    The 20-year-old defender came through the ranks at Torquay before breaking into the first-team in a 1-1 draw with Port Vale in September 2012.

    The Essex-born player has also spent time on loan at Taunton Town and Conference North side Gloucester City.

    However, he was released by the Gulls at the end of last season and will now be part of Mark Hawkes' plans at Melbourne Stadium this year.

    Chelmsford City sign Torquay United defender


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    AN AWARD-WINNING Indian restaurant has been plunged into a "nightmare", and another claims the Home Office made a mistake, following two immigration raids in Chelmsford.

    Officers ambushed Omar's Tandoori in Hatfield Peverel and arrested four suspected illegal immigrants from Bangladesh last Bank Holiday Monday evening.

    Later that night they arrested another five Bangladeshis at Yasmin Indian Brasserie in Baddow Road, leading three away in handcuffs.

    Each restaurant faces potential fines of up to £20,000 per worker if managers fail to prove they carried out the necessary background checks.

    "It's a nightmare," said Mostak Ahmed, speaking on behalf of his cousin and Omar's Tandoori owner Misba Ahmed, who is on holiday in Bangladesh.

    "It would be difficult if they fined us as we're just a small restaurant and we are not that busy.

    "We get good business but we're not busy enough to pay a fine."

    The 17-year-old restaurant, which won the Best Small Restaurant prize at the Essex Food and Drink Awards in 2012, has never been raided before.

    Mostak claimed his cousin carried out all the checks he could on the 28-year-old and 21-year-old chefs, who have been detained for overstaying their visas.

    A 35-year-old worker and a 29-year-old, both men, have also been released on "immigration bail" suspected of entering the country illegally.

    Mostak added: "The first one who was removed had his visa application refused only a couple of weeks ago but he didn't know that when he came to work here.

    "We took all his papers and we knew about his application going through at the Home Office. He didn't tell us it had been refused.

    "The other one only joined on that very day on Monday and he said he had all his papers, everything, and he was going to give them to me at the end of the day."

    In a prepared statement, Misba said: "Despite vigorous checks there appears to be some alleged problems with the immigration status of some of my employees.

    "I am awaiting a letter from the immigration services which will clarify exactly what the problems are.

    "Then I will be in a position to make further comments."

    Ruhel Ahmed, a manager at the Yasmin, said immigration officers came to the wrong place.

    A 34-year-old, 32-year-old and 23-year-old were led out and detained for overstaying their visas, while another two others, aged 32 and 24, were released on bail.

    "They came looking for people who don't live here, they came to the wrong place on the wrong information," said Ruhel.

    "But they checked everyone here and found with one of them, their visa was outdated because their college had closed."

    Ruhel claimed the second person detained was simply "on work experience" while another was not a worker and was "visiting" the restaurant.

    Last week's raids follow the arrests of four Bangladeshis at Chelmsford restaurant Indian Nights during a charity event.

    Immigration raid restaurant claims Border Force officials went to the wrong place


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    VOCAL analysis of an Islamic State fighter involved in the killing of a US journalist suggests he could hail from Essex.

    The accent of the fighter, who killed James Foley, has been pinned down to London, Essex or Kent by Dr Claire Hardaker, a linguistics expert from Lancaster University.

    On Tuesday, militants from Islamic State (IS), formerly ISIS, released a video showing the alleged murder of a second American journalist Steven Sotloff, and a threat to kill a British hostage.

    Local Muslims have condemned the actions of the group and suggested that sensational reports of IS may cause a backlash in the county.

    Ayman Syed, general secretary of Chelmsford Muslim Society, said: "The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has outlined rules for fighting and imprisonment etcetera, and the actions we see by those who fight with ISIS do not represent Islam or what our Prophet (pbuh) taught.

    "We have had a few problems over the years in Chelmsford, people have been verbally abused and attacked and the mosque has been vandalised and broken into. Often these incidents have happened when something "Muslim" has been reported in UK or from abroad."

    Mr Syed's views are shared by other Muslims, all of whom expressed concern over the news that some young Brits had travelled abroad to fight in Syria and the surrounding region.

    President of Anglia Ruskin Islamic Society, Furhad Hussain, 21, explained: "These people are misguided, they are young, and their minds are malleable. It's exactly the same thing as the English Defence League (EDL) – they think there is a cause and they want to fight, and they aren't educated enough to understand that what they're doing isn't right."

    This week the UK's terror threat level was increased from substantial to severe, following the murder of Mr Foley and the news that up to 500 Britons are now fighting in the region.

    Turab Naqvi, vice president of Anglia Ruskin Islamic Society, said: "They may have been brainwashed. It hurts when you see young people get brainwashed. Everyone has access to the internet and there are websites that tempt people out there.

    "All we can do is honestly spread good words. I wish we could go on the news and say what's wrong and what's right. As a university society, we always spread good faith and good words. You have to embrace other cultures."

    The news that British fighters from IS may have been involved in the murder of Mr Foley may have prompted the UK government as it pushed through new legislation allowing the passports of those suspected of fighting abroad to be confiscated. However this begs the question how the government will distinguish between those fighting with groups such as IS, and those who have gone to the region to provide aid.

    To those considering fighting in the region, Mr Syed's message was clear: "Basically don't. Your first and foremost duty is to your own family and society and then that to the world. You should consider the impact you will have on your own family not just what might happen for today, tomorrow but the years to come.

    "There are rights to fulfil for your own family, society and also UK laws have to be considered. There are also plenty of options to voicing opinion in the UK."

    Stephen Sotloff killing: Chelmsford Muslims fear IS backlash


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    The anticipation is at boiling point for kids up and down the country today, after it was announced on Tuesday by Walt Disney Animation Studios that they would be making a follow-up to hit film Frozen.

    The film will be a short, entitled Frozen Fever, and is set to be released in spring 2015. 

    A statement released by Walt Disney Animation Studios confirmed that the main characters, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf would all be returning, along with Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who would be producing a brand new song for the short.

    The studio had previously claimed that there were no plans for a sequel, but given the £723m it grossed worldwide, it is unsurprising that they changed their minds.

    The plot will revolve around Anna's birthday, with 'Elsa and Kristoff determined to give her the best celebration ever.' 

    However the statement goes on to tease the audience that 'Elsa's icy powers may put more than just the party at risk.'

    Frozen sequel confirmed for spring 2015


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    Offences such as criminal damage and vehicle crime are so badly investigated they are "on the verge of being decriminalised" in parts of the UK, a police watchdog has warned.

    Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)'s report into the "mindset" of some forces claims victims are sometimes asked to investigate the crime themselves.

    Victims of high-volume offences like vehicle crime and "burglaries of properties other than dwellings" were asked questions by call-handlers to assess the likelihood of the crime being solved, inspectors found.

    Some forces had asked victims to check if there was CCTV or fingerprint evidence available, and interview their own neighbours.

    Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker, who led the inspection, said: "Effectively what's happened is a number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised.

    "So it's not the fault of the individual staff, it's a mindset thing that's crept in to policing to say 'we've almost given up'."

    In Essex, the number of burglaries of properties other than dwellings increased from 191 between July 2012/13 to 297 in July 2013/14.

    During a similar period, from April 2013 to February 2014, 6.32 per cent of such offences were solved by the police, while 16.11 per cent of house burglaries were solved.

    Minor offences in danger of being 'decriminalised' by police mindset, says watchdog


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    A BOUTIQUE festival which began life as a garden party for 100 people made a strong claim to be one of the best in the country when it celebrated its tenth birthday at the weekend.

    The Feeling, De La Soul and Razorlight were some of the household names that made Brownstock arguably the best since its launch a decade ago.

    But while the event held on Morris Farm, just outside South Woodham Ferrers, was lauded for its family atmosphere, intimacy and variety, it was grime MC Dizzee Rascal who stole the show.


    Dizzee Rascal - Dance Wiv Me on MUZU.TV.

    Jess Brown, who organises the festival with her siblings Adam and Anna, said: "He had this big laser show and it was rumoured he had to agree it with Southend Airport.

    "He crowd-surfed and started doing selfies with the crowd. It was quite an act."

    The 28-year-old's performance, which was top of the bill on Friday night on the main stage, also included a firework display and was the biggest production at Brownstock during its history.

    The Brown family started the festival on their farm when 100 friends turned up for a party.

    There were ten straw bales, two barbecues and one trailer for a stage, a far cry from the 6,000 people who turned out for this year's event.

    Jess added: "When we started out 10 years ago I can remember us thinking it would be ultimate to get someone like him here.

    "If you look back to 10 years ago to where we are now it's just amazing. But I still think it feels like a community." And by catering for many crowds, she felt it helped the festival to retain its family feel.

    She continued: "I've just been in the comedy club and we had so many people wanting to take part in the quiz. It's been a massive highlight to have De La Soul and when you see other artists wanting to see them you know you've got someone good – they sold out Glastonbury."

    Brownstock Festival 2014: See all the pictures as Dizzie Rascal, Razorlight and The Feeling hit the stage


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