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

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    A DATE for a Chelmsford by-election has been announced following the tragic death of the previous ward member from cancer. 

    The seat on Chelmsford City Council for Bicknacre, and East and West Hanningfield will be contested on October 9, with candidates wishing to stand required to submit their applications by September 12.

    The by-election follows the death of Cllr Michael Harris on July 13, a year after a cancerous tumour was discovered on his leg. 

    The 67-year-old had skin grafting surgery and his leg was amputated in July 2012, but the cancer spread to his lungs. He was treated in University College Hospital in London but died in Broomfield Hospital on the night of Sunday, July 13.

    To vote in the election you must be on the Electoral Register for Chelmsford as a local government elector for the Ward. 

    If you are not on the Register, you can apply by registering online at, or requesting a paper application form by telephoning 01245 606449. Applications must be made by 23 September 2014.

    For more information on how to register, or stand as a candidate go to

    Date for Chelmsford City Council by-election announced

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    The legendary Battle of Maldon is an event cemented in history. So historical in fact, you'd assume it would take a lot of money and effort to recreate for a modern-day audience.

    Not so. This bizarre reenactment has been put together using just Lego pieces and speeded up filming. 

    The real battle took place in 990AD when Earl Byrhnoth led the English into a doomed battle against the Vikings. In the end, the Anglo Saxons chose to buy them off rather than continue the struggle.

    And just in case you didn't understand modern parlance, the video is captioned in Old English.

    Video: The Battle of Maldon bizarrely recreated with Lego figures

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    Police taped off part of Melbourne Park yesterday evening while a woman was given emergency treatment (September 4).

    The patient, thought to be in her 20s, fell seriously ill in the park and was found by a passer-by. She was "stabilised" by East of England paramedics at the scene shortly before 9pm.

    Witnesses described hearing the woman 'wailing in pain' while she was treated. 

    Essex Police said the woman is believed to have taken some drugs. Officers searched her home to identify any medication at the premises and also searched the area.

    Their enquiries lead to the incident being deemed non-suspicious and the woman was taken to Broomfield Hospital where she is recovering.

    Police incident in Melbourne Park, Chelmsford as ambulances called to treat unconscious woman

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    It's back to school week now so, whether you fancy a day out with the family or maybe just some time to yourself, there's plenty on in Essex this weekend.

    Take a look at the list below and if we've missed any events, register and post at the bottom of this page:

    European Grasstrack Sidecar Final at High Easter Lower House Farm, High Easter, CM1 4QL

    Saturday, September 6 to Sunday, September 7, Race Day: Sunday, 11:00, Prices: Adults £15 for a single day or £25 for the weekend (weekend price includes camping from Friday), Children: £1 (donation to Essex Air Ambulance), Programmes: £2.


    High Easter, located just outside Chelmsford, plays host to the continent's finest sidecar racers, as they bid to become European Sidecar champions in ten exciting races. Those that have already qualified include current British champions Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown and seven times British champions Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg.

    Add in to the mix further supporting races in the 500cc sidecar support class, 500cc sidecars, and 1000cc sidecars, and you've got over 30 high adrenaline races to keep you exhilarated. In addition, food will be available, along with extra entertainment.

    Sunday is race day; however it's well worth watching on Saturday to see the 500cc sidecars practise. With camping available from Friday until Monday, you can turn this weekend into a real racing break.

    Chelmer Village Family Fun Day, Chelmer Village Green, Chelmer Village, Village Gate, east Chelmsford (just behind Asda), 

    Saturday, September 6, 11:00-16:00,

    Admission: free

    Contact: 01245 466313

    Springfield Parish Council are organising a Family Fun Day on Chelmer Village Green. Featuring a bouncy castle, swing boats, face painting, and tug of war and children's play activities, it promises to be a great day out for the kids.

    To keep the adults entertained, you can enjoy the striking classic cars on show, vote for your favourite Harley Davidson, or get lost in the craft stalls. Food and drink is also provided, with a barbecue set to take place. As Springfield Parish Council member Barbara Larken says "there'll be lots of variety to keep people entertained for the whole of the day".

    The day will feature several charities appearing to raise money, including a soft toy tombola for The J's Hospice.

    Orsett Show: Orsett Showground, near Grays

    Saturday, September 6, 9am-5pm, Tickets £12 adults, concessions £10 or £10/£8 if bought in advance. Visit

    Set in 30 acres of countryside, this annual event is one of the oldest country shows in England and makes for a great day out for all the family - last year it attracted some 12,000 visitors. This 108th show will feature marquees showcasing horticulture, agriculture, hobbies and handcrafts, schools, craft stalls and more than 100 trade stands. There's an ever-changing programme of exciting displays in the Grand Display Ring and events throughout the day in the Horse Rings. A first for the show will be an appearance from the cast of this year's Thameside Theatre's panto including TV star Jeff Brazier who'll be drawing the winning Thurrock Community Chest tickets at 5pm.

    Woodfest at Hatfield Forest, The National Trust, Hatfield Forest Estate Forest, Takeley, Essex, CM22 6NE

    Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 7, Admission: free.


    The annual festival celebrating the forest returns this year with over 80 musical acts covering two stages and the entire musical spectrum. The music runs from 7pm on Friday to 5pm on Sunday, but there's so much more on offer, from the Flutterby Theatre's latest production, to local crafts, and even learning traditional folk dancing.

    With children's glade activities and story-telling, you can rest assured that the kids are having a good time as you take a sip of your real ale from the beer tent or eat some locally produced food from one of the many stalls.

    Set in the beautiful Hatfield Forest, it provides the perfect backdrop to all this, plus much more.

    National Jazz Archive Fundraising Weekend at Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, IG10 1RB, Friday, September 5, 19:30, Saturday, September 6 13:30, Prices: £15.

    Contact: 0208 5024701

    Loughton Methodist Church's jazz weekend begins on Friday with renowned jazz pianist and vocalist, Liane Carroll, for 'An Evening with Liane Carroll'. Carroll has been wowing audiences for years, working with Paul McCartney amongst others, and in 2012 won jazz album of the year for her album Up and Down. One of Britain's finest jazz musicians, she was also named jazz musician of the year in 2008, and is a favourite amongst jazz critics.

    Saturday welcomes 'John Altman's All-Star Jazz Party' to the church in the second half of this jazz extravaganza. John Altman has enjoyed a wide-ranging musical career, from major film scores to TV commercials, and brings with him an array of top musicians to help with his party. With his band including Pete Cater (drums), Dave Green (bass) and Mitch Dalton (guitar), it promises to be an excellent musical feast. Guests will include former England cricketer and now musician, Mark Butcher, in an event not to be missed for jazz fans.

    English Wine Festival at New Hall Vineyards, Chelmsford Road, Purleigh, Essex, CM3 6PN, Saturday, September 6 to Sunday, September 7, 10:00-17:00, Admission: Adults £7, Children £1.

    Website:, Contact: 01621 828343

    Now in its 43rd year, the English Wine Festival and Open Day offers you the chance to try some of the fine English wines brewed locally in Purleigh, near Maldon.

    With over 100 acres of vines, New Hall Vineyards stands as one of the largest vineyards in the country, and that means that there's a wide variety of quality wines on offer. However, besides wine there's still much more to do at the festival. With over 40 craft stands and food including Essex oysters and sea food, it's not all about the wine.

    A bouncy castle, treasure hunt and wild west show promise something to keep the children entertained as you trial the vast array of wines, and the tours of the vineyard is something to be appreciated by all.

    Adult admission includes entry, tasting glass and the first four wine tastings are free.

    Wildlife Walk at RSPB Vange Marsh Pitsea, Essex, SS13 3JX, 

    Sunday, September 7, Prices: Adults £3 RSPB members, £5 for non-members.

    Website:, Contact: 01268498620

    Take a walk around the exquisite Vange Marsh, guided by their very own nature experts, and discover all the incredible sights that are on offer.

    With its stunning fresh and saltwater lagoons, you can expect to find everything from breeding avocets to reed buntings.

    It's a great trip for anyone with the slightest interest in the outdoors, or anyone who wants to encourage their children to get closer to nature. With Autumn approaching it may be one of the last opportunities to catch a glimpse of Essex's fascinating summer wildlife for this year, so have a look while you still can.

    Booking is essential.

    Hog Roast and Torchlight Maze at Blaze House Craft Centre, Blake End, Braintree, Essex, CM77 6RA

    Saturday, September 6, adults only, Prices: £25 inclusive, bookings only, food at 19:00, followed by the torchlight maze. Price of maze £5.

    Website: Contact: 01376553146

    Try out Blake House Craft Centre's bewildering maze as night descends on The Original Great Maze 2014 Peacock Challenge. You're going to want to bring a torch.

    A delicious hog roast will also be laid out prior to attempting the maize maze to add something extra to what is an enjoyable challenge. As well as the maze, Blake House Craft Centre offers a shop, where you can buy anything from handmade jewellery to fresh farm produce.

    Of course, it goes without saying that you're bound to have an aMAZEing time!

    Mersea Island Mind Body Spirit Festival Mersea Island Community Association, 38 High Street, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex, CO5 8QA

    Saturday, September 6, 10:00-16:00, Prices: Adults £2.50-£3.50, 16 and under go free (accompanied by an adult), Concessions £2-£3, higher prices includes local charity gift aid.

    Contact: 07969770741

    West Mersea brings a spot of spirituality to this weekend in Essex, as it hosts the fascinating Mind Body Spirit Festival.

    On offer at the festival you can expect to find belly dancers, treatments, natural remedies, natural crystals, and even a guided meditation space to help you find that inner calmness you've been searching for.

    Even if it's not that Zen state that you're after, the festival still boasts great food, entertaining music and stage performances, and books, CDs and jewellery for sale. So whatever it is you're looking for, you should be able to find it at the Mind Body Spirit Festival.

    Colchester Lions Vehicle Show, Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ

    Sunday, September 7, 11:00-17:00, Prices: Adult £3, children go free.

    Contact: 07932465749

    The vehicle show goes beyond any mere car show by showcasing over 300 different vehicles for you to appreciate at Castle Park. At the show, you can feel free to take photographs of and ask questions about all your favourite vehicles.

    As well as the vehicles, there is much more on offer, with many side stalls set up and food readily available. Most exciting for the children is that there is also going to be a fun fair set up.

    Wild Wings at Tropical Wings Zoo, Wickford Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5QZ

    Sunday, September 7, 9:30-17:30, Prices: Adults £10.95, Under 16s £8.95, Under 2s go free, alternatively, Family Pass £36.

    Website: Contact: 07827331270

    Runner-up this year for the Best Family Attraction in Essex Award, Tropical Wings Zoo presents Wild Wings as a celebration of all things winged.

    They invite special bird displays from guests The South East Falconry Group, and Owls R US, with a collection of owls from all around the world.

    The celebration doesn't stop with birds though, and with one of the most impressive tropical butterfly houses in the country, their butterfly collection promises to be one of the highlights of the day.

    Whilst the focus is on those with wings, Tropical Wings Zoo promises fun for the whole family, with many other animals on show, including lemurs, meerkats and creepy crawlies.

    11 things to do in Essex this weekend - September 6 and 7

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    A judge has criticised a taxi driver - convicted after attacking another man with a car towing eye - for wasting taxpayers' money.

    Mehdi Masoudi, once of Taylor Avenue, Chelmsford, was found guilty today (September 5) at Chelmsford Crown Court of causing actual bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place after a four-day trial.

    The 31-year-old Iranian had denied attacking Tesco worker Isaac Carter after chasing him into his flats in Wells Crescent on June 12 last year following a dispute in Viaduct Road, before stabbing him in the back at least three times with the tool.

    At the beginning of the trial, costing around £4,000, he refused to change his plea. Yet after the jury returned their verdicts in little over four hours, judge Christopher Ball QC ordered him to pay £1,500 in court costs.

    He also sentenced him to a four-month prison term, suspended for two years, and 140 hours in unpaid work.

    Judge Ball said: "We've wasted time on this case because you would not admit you got it wrong.

    "You were not man enough to realise that you had over stepped the mark so we have wasted time and public money on this.

    "There shouldn't have been a trial and if you get in trouble again for goodness sake be man enough to admit it."

    Mr Carter, who sustained three puncture wounds, however is seen on CCTV first kicking Masoudi's taxi in a dispute over parking and then punching him around the face.

    "This is a case in which you and Mr Carter both behaved disgracefully," said Judge Ball.

    "It was a nasty assault but it flowed from an incident in which you were provoked causing you to lose your temper and behave in the way you would not normally behave."

    Mr Carter however faced no police action or criminal charges.

    Judge Ball added: "Mr Carter had some leniency extended to him."

    After the trial Iranian expatriate Masoudi, who now lives in Birmingham as a part-time takeaway worker, said: "I am happy with the judge."

    'For goodness sake, be man enough to admit it': Judge slams taxi driver for not guilty plea over fight with Chelmsford Tesco worker

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    TEARS and cries of relief erupted at Chelmsford Crown Court this afternoon (Friday) as a pensioner was cleared of the manslaughter of his neighbour at a West Hanningfield mobile home park. 

    Following a three week trial Garry Poore, 76, broke down in sobs as the jury foreman delivered their verdict of not guilty after five hours of deliberation. 

    Mr Poore, who stands at just 5"2, had been accused of fatally attacking neighbour Ronald Mayne during an argument over late night noise on February 26 this year. 

    But despite admitting he had gone to Mr Mayne's home in the early hours of the morning carrying a hammer while heavily intoxicated Mr Poore, a retired technical illustrator, had always denied laying a hand on Mr Mayne, who died from an injury to the back of his head. 

    The jury reached a majority verdict after several hours of deliberation and Judge Gratwicke, who had overseen the trial, thanked them for their time, and to some of them for delaying holiday in order to attend, before discharging Mr Poore. 

    As they left the court Mr Poore's family, many of whom had attended every day of the lengthy trial, said repeatedly "justice has been done" as they celebrated the verdict. 

    Pensioner Garry Poore cleared of killing neighbour Ronald Mayne in West Hanningfield after noise row

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    Bus passengers miraculously escaped with minor injuries after a driver drove a double-decker into a low-level bridge, smashing off its top half.

    The Regal Busways vehicle collided with the 13ft-high Battlesbridge railway bridge in Hawk Hill shortly before 6.45pm yesterday (Thursday, September 4).

    One man in his 30s on the top deck ducked just in time, while two people on the lower deck, one of them taken to Broomfield Hospital as a precautionary measure, were left "very shaken".

    It is the second time a Regal double-decker bus has crashed into a bridge in recent history following an almost identical incident in Chelmsford last year.

    The bus involved is once again the company's Chelmsford to Southend-on-Sea service.

    "It took the whole roof off," said John Hill, 68, who lives nearby in Hawk Hill.

    "The top of the bus was completely crushed, including the windows, from the height of the seats upwards."

    Mr Hill said he was quickly on scene to help divert traffic after hearing what sounded like "a bomb going off".

    Essex Police arrived at about 7pm to take over. Today they confirmed the bridge's lighting was damaged.

    "The driver must have gone about 30 or 40 yards passed the bridge before coming to a stop and the roof was spread out across the road," he said.

    "The noise was horrendous, like a bomb going off.

    "I can't believe the driver was doing the speed limit and I don't know why the bus company is even running a bus down there.

    "The passenger on the top must have seen the bridge coming and lain down on the floor, that's the only way they could have survived.

    "It's very lucky no one was seriously hurt, that's the important thing, and that no one was behind the bus before its roof came off."

    An ambulance spokesman said: "The roof was completely off so luckily there was only one man on the top deck of the bus with a minor arm injury.

    He didn't even require hospital treatment but there were two passengers downstairs who were very shaken, one of which was taken to Broomfield Hospital as a precaution."

    The police said no action is being taken against the driver. 

    Regal Busways are refusing to comment, but a worker who answered the telephone told the Chronicle: "You're not getting a word out of me."

    Mr Hill also added that the bridge is a regular problem for HGVs whose drivers commonly perform a U-turn in the road after approaching.

    PICTURED: Smashed remains of Regal Busways double-decker after Battlesbridge railway bridge crash

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    Sky News, and CBeebies have moved channels after Freeview retuned its service on Wednesday. 

    Childrens channels were previously set in the 70s, with news channels in the 80s. However, the retune sees them shifted, with childrens channels now in the 120s and news channels in the 130s.

    The reason for the retune is to free up space, so that Freeview can introduce new channels.

    Viewers who decide not to retune their Freeview will still be able to receive these channels, however it is recommended they do so that they maintain access to the full list of channels available to them.

    The channels affected by the retune are listed below, with their new channel number:

    • BBC News Channel 130
    • BBC Parliament 131
    • Sky News 132
    • Al Jazeera English 133
    • Al Jazeera Arabic 134
    • Russia Today (RT) 135
    • CBBC 120
    • CBeebies 121
    • CITV 122
    • CBBC HD 123
    • CBeebies HD 124
    • POP 125
    • POP +1 126

    Where have the Freeview channels moved to after retuning?

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    A third man has been arrested in connection wit the death of an Afghan stowaway found in a container in Tilbury Docks last month.

    The suspect, 47, from Dungannon, in Northern Ireland was detained this morning by Merseyside Police on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating illegal entry into the United Kingdom

    He is due to be transferred into the custody of Essex Police later this evening.

    Meet Singh Kapoor was found dead inside the container on August 16. 34 other migrants were also discovered inside and were subsequently taken to hospital.

    Third man from Northern Ireland arrested at Liverpool Ferry Port over death at Tilbury Docks

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    A teenager was found dead at Bradwell Outdoor Centre following an altercation with another youth and a warning he would be sent home, an inquest heard yesterday (September 5).

    Glenn Thake, 19, who had been living at the Braintree Foyer youth hostel, in St Michael's Road, Braintree, was found hanged in the early hours of Thursday January 23, after punching the walls and glass door of the outdoor centre and leaving the building.

    Essex Coroner's Court heard from Karl Silverback, a youth support worker who saw Mr Thake shortly before his death, that he  "was very agitated" after being told he had to leave the centre following an altercation with another teenager.

    He said: "I told him he would have to leave the course in the morning, but as his behaviour became more erratic I called my manager and wanted to call a cab to come and get him that night."

    A toxicology report found that Mr Thake had therapeutic levels of medication in his system at the time of his death, along with evidence to suggest that he may have used cannabis in the hours before he died.

    Senior coroner for Essex Coroner's Court, Caroline Beasley-Murray heard that youth workers decided to call police after Mr Thake was heard to say "I'm not going home, I'm not going home, I'd rather be dead."

    It was heard that Mr Thake had attempted to take his life on two previous occasions, according to information provided by a friend, while police found a notebook at the home of Mr Thake detailing similar thoughts.

    In a letter to the court, Mr Thake's mother, who attended the inquest, said: "He will be missed by his friends and family."

    Recording an open verdict, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: "We will never quite know what was going on in his mind. It seems a very impulsive thing he did."

    Teenager found hanged at Bradwell Outdoor Centre 'had attempted suicide before'

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    BRAZEN oil thieves have targeted 28 homes in two Essex villages and some residents have even had their tanks emptied twice.

    The thefts in Great Leighs and Little Leighs have left residents too scared to fill up their tanks in case they are targeted, and some are even patrolling the streets in case the criminals return.

    Resident Jeremy Blakemore, 50, who had around 1,000 litres of oil stolen, said: "We have been going out on patrols in the evening to see if anyone is around.

    "You wake up in the middle of the night and hear vehicles driving slowly along the lane and you are never sure if it is them.

    "Seven houses that we know of in the immediate area have been targeted in the last two or three weeks. It has been really ridiculous; they just keep returning.

    "We're all really worried. We think they are quite well organised because they have come in round the back, cut fences. If you add up the cost of the theft, it could come to more than £15,000."

    Mr Blakemore was just one of a group of people who had been targeted, and one resident re-filled their tank only to have their oil stolen for a second time.

    Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's happening on an industrial scale. It was quite sneaky to do five houses in a row, and they are coming back because they know that people will fill up their tanks again, because we need to have oil in the tanks.

    "If it happened to an elderly person, it would be disastrous. We are watching out. People are getting alarm systems fitted too."

    It is thought that the thieves are dropped off by vehicle, possibly a large white van, and are then thought to siphon the oil into barrels, and then call the van driver to come back to collect it.

    An Essex Police spokesman said: "Police are treating this as a priority crime and are working with the rural crime team on intelligence surrounding these incidents. Police have contacted every property in the area to warn them about these thefts and provide crime prevention advice. A white van seen in the area has been circulated on the police national computer."

    Police are aware of eight incidents since January, but the local Neighbourhood Watch say there have been eight in two weeks.

    "The upsetting thing is that they are here around 9pm, when the lights are on and people are at home. They are really blatant," said Mr Blakemore.

    Local neighbourhood officer PC Laura Williams said: "We have increased our patrols in the evenings when most of these crimes are happening and with our PCSOs we are providing a high visibility reassurance. Anyone who has not spoken to us or would like advice on tank security can call the Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor on 101.

    " Anyone who sees suspicious activity should immediately call police."

    Oil thefts leave drivers scared to fill up their tanks

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    ESSEX County Council will spend £140,000 to fix a road that has flooded every time it rains for more than ten years.

    The problems in Terling Hall Road, near Hatfield Peverel, force bus drivers and residents to take detours of up to 12 miles to pass.

    Residents' anger came to a head during a spell of heavy rainfall during the winter and spring, and an emergency meeting was called with Cllr Rodney Bass, the county's highways boss, at Lord Rayleigh's Farms in Terling on May 14, where there was a heated exchange between some participants.

    In the past council workers tried to solve the problem by draining the water away, but now the authority says it will install a new drain to direct rainwater into an existing drain at the top of the A12 embankment.

    As well as the drain, there will be new kerbing on the Berwick Hall side of the railway bridge on both sides of the road.

    Banks will be improved on both sides of the road, and on both sides of the railway.

    Five weeks of work is set to begin on September 8 and the road will be fully closed to vehicles throughout, but pedestrian access will be maintained.

    Flood hotspot Terling Hall Road to be repaired at long last

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    Broomfield Hospital has revealed it is working with dieticians to improve its menus after being singled out in a patient survey. The Chelmsford hospital was classed among the bottom 20 per cent of hospitals for the quality of food it serves up to patients, staff and visitors as part of a new move by the Department of Health to rank hospitals based on their dishes.

    The Court Road centre scored 83.83 per cent for the quality of food in Patient-Led Assessments this year, with teams sampling dishes and scoring them for taste, temperature and texture.

    However, the Mid-Essex Hospitals Trust has reassured users it is dedicated to providing an "outstanding patient experience" by meeting the dietary needs of patients.

    A spokesman said: "We acknowledge that there is always room for improvement, and at the Broomfield hospital we are working with a dedicated team of dieticians and our patient-user groups to review menus and looking to make menus more individual to the patients' needs on each ward.

    "We will use the expertise we have from our other hospitals to support this work.

    "It is worth noting that NHS Choices information, as being reported, relates to more than the quality of food and food taste, as the heading would imply, as it includes over 17 assessment criteria including the menu and availability, service and presentation, eating environment, drinks and assessors' expectations. So, it is much wider than food quality alone, although this is the published headline."

    However, despite a poor rating for quality, Broomfield did score among the top twentieth percentile for its choice of food provided by supplier Anglia Crown, and in the average range for the choice of breakfast on offer.

    It was also found fresh fruit and snacks were available, and menus approved by a dietician with the cost per patient, per day for food at £9.90.

    The spokesman added: "We are continually striving to improve the quality and choice of food available for our patients and are pleased that across the hospitals we run we scored above 85 per cent for two of our three hospitals for quality of food.

    "Our hospitals were also reported as amongst the best in the country for choice of food, offering fresh fruit, providing food between meals and all meals are approved by a dietician.

    "Sharing information on the food and related services with our patients is important as we develop and improve, and we welcome feedback. The score recognises the hard work all our teams put in to deliver a good service to our patients and recognises the importance of nutrition in their care."

    The Trust did confirm to the Chronicle however that the majority of food is prepared off-site rather than being freshly prepared in hospital kitchens, a situation that concerns Alex Jackson, of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food.

    The campaign coordinator said: "Only very few hospitals in England are freshly cooking patient meals to the highest standards, but they are proving that it is possible, without costing any more money.

    "We want to see Jeremy Hunt put these same high standards into legislation so that all hospitals, including those managed by Mid Essex NHS Trust, have to raise their game."

    Healthwatch Essex, which works to represent patient views within the NHS, has also expressed its disappointment at the results.

    Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive officer at the Essex branch, said: "It's disappointing to see Broomfield Hospital receive such a relatively low ranking for the quality of its food. Yet whilst we know that quality and choice of food is an issue for patients, we also know that many hospitals struggle to meet expectations placed upon them.

    "With the introduction of new standards, as announced last month, Healthwatch Essex would encourage all hospitals to work with their patients, carers, and stakeholders – such as voluntary and community groups who work with patients and people with particular health conditions – to ensure that improvements reflect the experiences and needs of people themselves.

    "This is a great opportunity to involve people in the improvement of food and raise standards across the board."

    The Trust added that since June this year it has been running trials with a number of food suppliers to review the choices available to patients, which includes lamb and lentil stew, an all-day breakfast, and vegetable lasagne.

    The spokesman from the Mid-Essex Hospitals Trust finished: "The review reported by NHS Choices is one that is conducted internally by each NHS hospital and by our own staff, and we are confident that we have been honest in our scoring to encourage ongoing focus on our food improvement programme.

    "We strive to continuously improve in all these areas and are committed to the service we deliver to our patients, aligned to the right provision for their clinical care and needs.

    "The most important thing to us is providing good care for our patients and in doing this meeting their dietary needs to support their recovery and outstanding patient experience."

    Broomfield Hospital 'reviewing menus' after food quality is slammed

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    Guests at a Witham hotel were evacuated in the early hours of this morning after a fire broke out in its kitchen.

    Two firefighters from the town's fire station were called to the White Hart hotel, in Newland Street, at 3.34am, where the blaze was confined to the kitchen. 

    A spokesman for the Essex fire service said: "Crews wearing breathing apparatus used one hose reel to deal swiftly with the incident.

    "The incident was dealt with by 4.12am. We have no information relating to the cause at this stage."

    Witham hotel evacuated after kitchen fire

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    A man has been left with a broken jaw after a late-night assault outside The Lounge Bar in Braintree yesterday.

    Police were called by the ambulance service to Market Place just after 11.45pm to find a man unconscious after he had been assaulted on the pavement outside the venue.

    He was taken to Broomfield Hospital for treatment where his injury was discovered.

    DS Becky Young, of Braintree CID, said: "We are carrying out enquiries to establish the circumstances of what happened and the events that led up to this attack.

    "The area currently remains cordoned off while a forensic examination is carried out.

    "The suspect is described as a white man, in his 20s, around 6ft 1in tall and of heavy build. He is thought to have been wearing a short sleeved polo top.

    "If anyone knows who this man is, or was in the area at the time that this assault took place, I would urge them to call us."

    Braintree CID can be contacted by calling Essex Police on 101, or people can ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    Man left with broken jaw after Braintree assault

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    Revellers and foodies alike will have another nightspot to try out in Chelmsford later this year when Faces Kitchen & Bar opens its doors

    Previously The Bar, opposite the Odeon cinema, the venue promises to give visitors "an exclusive combination of modern British cuisine and bar entertainment", while locally-sourced food will have "a contemporary twist", according to the management, thanks to a specialised grill.

    But those up for a party will also be catered for, with live music and late-night entertainment also on the menu.

    Nick Harmston, general manager at Faces Kitchen and Bar, said: 'We can't wait to open our doors this autumn offering something brand new and contemporary for the people of Chelmsford.

    "It is the perfect stop for shoppers whether they are looking to have brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks, and we are confident that we can offer something to suit everyone from food to atmosphere.'

    Sue Patel, the Meadows shopping centre manager, said that the establishment will be a "fantastic addition" to the shops and bars currently within the centre.

    A recruitment day for prospective staff will also be held on Thursday (September 11).

    Faces Kitchen and Bar set to open in Chelmsford this autumn

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    CHELMSFORD City got their season back on track with a fantastic 1-0 win over title-favourites Bromley at Hayes Lane.

    Christian Smith's 42nd minute goal was the only goal of the game, as a superb team performance earned them their second Conference South victory this year.

    Danny Waldren missed a penalty for the Ravens early into the second half, but the Clarets held on to seal all three points.

    With the departure of Glen Southam during the week, Mark Hughes gave debuts to two new players. Yado Mambo slotted into centre-back and Nicky Nicolau, making his second spell with the Clarets, started on the left wing. Smith came back into the team with Lee Sawyer and Mark Hughes alongside him in the middle of the park.

    Bromley looked to get the ball down early, trying to hit the feet of frontmen Adam Birchall and Damian Scannell. But the Clarets worked hard to cut out their feed, looking to spring counter-attacks when they could.

    But neither side created much in the way of chances in the first half hour, with long range efforts being the closest. Ali Fuseini's weak effort from the edge of the box was the best opportunity for the hosts, with the ball comfortably held by Nicky Eyre.

    In the 33rd minute, Scannell missed the first real chance of the game. The ball was pumped into the box, with Chelmsford unable to properly clear. The ball fell to the striker, but he dragged his shot horribly wide from about six yards out.

    Eyre was forced into his first real save five minutes later, when the Ravens worked the ball well on the edge of the box. Moses Ademola fed the ball to Birchall, whose fierce shot was well parried away by the Clarets' keeper. The striker then failed to hit the target with the rebound and the ball went for a goal kick.

    But it was the Clarets who took the lead in the 42nd minute, with their first effort on target. Joe Ward took a long throw from the right, with Hughes there to supply the flick-on. Smith snuck in round the back post and fired in a fierce right-footed shot on the half volley past a helpless Seb Brown in the Bromley net.

    Only two minutes into the second-half, the Clarets were handed a massive let off when Bromley missed a penalty. Pierre Joseph-Dubois was brought down in the box, with the referee pointing to the spot. Waldren stepped up to take it, but blasted it high over the bar and the Clarets maintained their 1-0 lead.

    The Clarets had to withstand pressure early in the half, but when they did that they started playing some nice stuff of their own. After lovely play down the right, Hughes clipped in a ball to Michael Cheek, but the striker was unable to connect properly with his left-foot and the good chance was wasted.

    Chelmsford looked good for their lead, but Eyre was forced into another fine stop with 20 minutes to go. Smith was caught in possession by Scannell, who worked into the box and fired in a shot that Eyre parried away well.

    The Clarets were then put under real pressure with balls flying into the box. Redwood was forced into a goal-line clearance as Scannell managed to get the ball past Eyre from a tight angle.

    Sawyer could have put the game beyond doubt with ten minutes to go when Chelmsford broke away well. Hughes laid in the midfielder, but his first-time effort was tame and easily held by Brown.

    Mambo almost put the ball into his own net, when his defensive header flashed across the goal but out to safety.

    Hawkes' men will be looking to take that momentum into their next game, when they travel to Boreham Wood on Saturday.

    Bromley: Brown, Holland, Anderson, Fuseini, Swaine (Udoji '44), Bailey-Dennis, Joseph-Dubois (Slabber 64'), Waldren, Scannell, Birchall (Dennis 66'), Ademola.

    Subs not used: Agu, Grant

    Bookings: Bailey-Dennis (12'), Scannell (87'), Dennis (90')

    Chelmsford City: Eyre, Girdlestone, Redwood, Hughes, Haines, Mambo, Sawyer, Smith, Ward (Love 66'), Cheek (Callander 74'), Nicolau.

    Subs not used: Morgan, Ekpiteta, Freund

    Bookings: Haines (16'), Callander (79'), Eyre (87')

    Goal: Smith (42')

    Attendance: 1,485

    Superb Chelmsford City performance earns victory over Bromley

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    Strictly Come Dancing returns to the screens this weekend for its annual preview show - going head to head with the X Factor.

    The Saturday night show, featuring the likes of Mark Wright, Pixie Lott, and ex-Blue star Simon Webbe returns to BBC One at 8pm, with a 15 new contestants and a new presenter in Claudia Winkleman.

    Wright and Lott are the latest in a long line of stars from Essex to take to the dance floor - but some of them have met with a mixed success:

    Dominic Littlewood

    Dominic Littlewood, along with fellow series five contestant Penny Lancaster, was the first Essex celebrity to compete on the show. 

    Born in Southend, the Cowboy Builders host attended St Thomas More High School for Boys in Westcliff.' He finished 10th on the show in 2007 with his professional partner Lilia Kopylova, after their Paso Doble failed to impress.

    Penny Lancaster

    Penny Lancaster was born in Chelmsford, and managed to survive just one more week than Dom Littlewood, finishing 9th in series 5. She made her name as a model, but is now arguably better known as the husband of rock star Rod Stewart. During Lancaster's time on the show she was partnered by professional dancer Ian Waite, but left following a salsa.

    Mark Foster

    Born in Billericay, Foster, competed in series six has won six World Championship titles, 10 European titles and two Commonwealth titles in a career stretching from 1986-2008. 

    Foster is one of Britain's most popular and successful swimmers, having been taught at a pool in Southend and attended Southend High School for Boys. On the show though, he was less successful, being eliminated in week six after finishing bottom of the judges leader board with his Paso Doble. He was partnered by Hayley Holt, and finished 11th.

    Kara Tointon

    But Series 8 brought one of its finest. Actress Kara Tointon, best known from her role in EastEnders, was born in Basildon and brought up in Leigh-on-Sea, and had her first acting role playing Brigitta in The Sound of Music at Cliffs Pavilion. Consistently wowing the judges and audience alike, Tointon won the show in 2010, beating Matt Baker with her partner Artem Chigvintsev.

    Harry Judd

    Following the success of Tointon in 2010, the pressure was on McFly drummer Harry Judd to keep the Glitterball in Essex. And Judd more than lived up to the challenge, winning series nine with his partner Aliona Vilani. Judd was born in Chelmsford, and attended Dame Bradbury's School in Saffron Walden as a child. Judd has enjoyed much success with McFly, having had seven number ones in the UK singles chart.

    Denise van Outen

    The title was very nearly kept in Essex for an unprecedented third year in 2012, when Denise van Outen and her partner James Jordan finished as runners up in Series 10, behind Louis Smith. Van Outen was born in Basildon, and is well known as an actress and television presenter. She has presented The Big Breakfast and made numerous appearances in the West End. Her Essex roots are further pronounced by her narration of TOWIE.

    Rachel Riley

    Rachel Riley was the latest Essex celebrity to compete in Strictly Come Dancing, challenging last year in the show's 11th series. Riley shot to fame when she replaced Carol Vorderman as the letter picker and maths guru on Countdown. Riley was born in Rochford and brought up Thorpe Bay.

    Here she attended Southend High School for Girls and gained four As in her A-levels. On the show though, she was eliminated in the sixth week of the competition with her partner Pasha Kovalev.

    When is the Strictly Come Dancing preview on BBC1? A look back at previous contestants in Essex

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    Up-and-coming Bicknacre singer James Graham has got through to the second round of X Factor. 

    The 17-year-old, who said his mum was his biggest fan, wowed the four judges with his rendition of James Morrison's You Give Me Something, with Simon Cowell, often the hardest to please, saying that it was a "very cool" audition.  "I loved the song choice and the tone of your voice," Cowell told James. 

    Judge Mel B added that the teen had a "soulful R&B" style to him, adding after Graham had left the room that "he was good". 

    The Bicknacre lad, who won another singing competition two years ago for an operatic-style song, will next have to perform in front of an audience. 

    Bicknacre singer James Graham, 17, powers through X Factor audition

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    CASES heard by Chelmsford and Colchester magistrates from Monday, August 4 to Thursday, August 7.

    Suspended sentence

    EUROS WYNNE PRATLEY, 44, of Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, was given a ten week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for assaulting Diana Elsey by beating her at Chelmsford on April 21.

    It was a highly unpleasant, prolonged assault in a domestic context.

    The defendant was ordered to participate in Medium Alcohol Requirement Intervention for 12 days, participate in Building Better Relationships Programme for 19 days, and attend appointments with a responsible officer. 

    He was also given a restraining order not to contact her or enter Orange Tree Close in Chelmsford and must pay £300 compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).

    DANIEL WILLIAM CHAMBERS, 40, of High Street, Pewsey in Wiltshire, was given a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for leaving an intimidating letter at Yew Tree Gardens in Chelmsford on June 16 in breach of a non molestation order imposed on December 5.

    He must attend appointments with a responsible officer, carry out 60 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, and was given a restraining order not to contact the person or go to Chelmsford. 

    He must also pay an £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    AARON WILLIAM EAVES, 18, of High Street, Maldon, was given six weeks detention, suspended for 12 months, for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards another person with intent to provoke the use of unlawful violence being used at Maldon on June 21. 

    The defendant was brandishing a weapon on a Saturday afternoon in Maldon High Street. 

    He was ordered to attend Chelmsford Senior Attendance Centre for 36 hours, pay an £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS, in addition to forfeiting the hammer and having it destroyed.

    SAMUEL JOHN STANLEY PARTINGTON, 22, of Tollesbury Marina, Tollesbury, was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for assaulting Bianca Effemy by beating her at Chelmsford on April 7 in a very serious attack causing mental and physical distress to the victim.

    He must participate in Building Better Relationships Programme for 32 days, attend appointments with a responsible officer and was given a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting her.

    He must pay £500 compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and £620 costs to the CPS.


    BRIAN SMEE, 45, of no fixed address, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months after pleading guilty to assaulting another person by beating at Chelmsford on July 14. 

    He must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    DEBBIE MELISSA YATES, 38, of The Marshes, Dengie, Southminster, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months for assaulting Mark Yates by beating him at Hatfield Peverel on July 22.

    She also pleaded guilty to causing £3,000 of damage to a Land Rover belonging to Mr Yates. She was fined £190 and must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    RICHARD GOLDSTONE, 40, of Papes Leeze, Coggeshall, was given a community order for assaulting a Police Constable carrying out his duty at Clacton on May 12 and for assaulting Daniel Holman by beating him. 

    He was ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, pay £100 compensation to each of his victims, in addition to paying a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    WAYNE REYNOLDS, 26, of Hillary Close, Heybridge, was given a conditional discharge for two years for assaulting another person by beating her at Braintree on July 6. He must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Breach of order

    MARK JOHN BROUGHTON, 49, of Rose Hill, Braintree, was ordered to carry out an additional 20 hours of unpaid, supervised work, within the next 12 months in addition to the original requirements of a suspended sentence order imposed on June 20. 

    The defendant had failed to attend three appointments in July.

    CHARLIE DANIEL STURDY, 19, of Penny Royal Crescent, Witham, was ordered to participate in the Bridge Project for five days in addition to the original requirements of a community order made on December 5. 

    The defendant had failed to attend unpaid work on three occasions during July and also failed to attend supervision on July 22. He must pay £50 costs.

    DAISY EVANS, 19, of Bramble Road, Witham, was given a new community order for failing to comply with the requirements of an order imposed on December 13 by failing to notify Probation of a change of address and whereabouts.

    The defendant must attend appointments with a responsible officer, carry out 30 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, and pay £50 costs.

    CRAIG HARRIS, 35, of Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, was ordered to carry out an additional 20 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months in addition to the original requirements of a community order imposed on March 18, and pay £50 costs. 

    The defendant had failed to attend two appointments in March and July.

    Council tax regulations

    ANN LESLIE, of Barnard Road, Galleywood, was ordered to pay £1,114.95 in council tax and costs for the period 2010/11; 2011/12 and 2012/13 or in default to serve 12 days suspended.

    Criminal damage

    PETER WILLIAM HORSLEN, 20, of Caroline Way, Tiptree, was ordered to pay £100 compensation to Helen Horslen for damaging a clock at Colchester on June 21; and a further £20 compensation for causing damage to an internal wall on June 20. He must also pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    Drunk and disorderly

    CHARLOTTE LUCY GRAVES, 22, of Widford Chase, Chelmsford, was given a community order for being drunk and disorderly in Springfield Road, Chelmsford on July 20 and possessing a quantity of cannabis, a controlled class B drug.

    She committed the offence while subject to a conditional discharge order imposed on May 2 for possessing drugs. She was ordered to attend Essex Senior Attendance Centre for 24 hours and pay a £60 victim surcharge.


    JOHN WILLIAM MCNERLIN, 44, of Bronte Road, Witham, was given a community order for harassing Joanne Banks by repeatedly knocking at her door at Braintree on May 31. 

    He was ordered to participate in Thinking Skills for 60 days, carry out 120 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months and was given a restraining order not to contact Joanne or enter Aylett House in Braintree. 

    He must pay a £60 victim surcharge and £80 costs to the CPS.

    Social Security offences

    TAMMY LOUISE MOORE, 33, of Bartram Avenue, Braintree, was fined £150 for failing to notify Braintree District Council of a change of circumstances that would have affected her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit between September 20, 2011 and June 21, 2013.

    She was ordered to pay £2,577.95 compensation plus a £20 victim surcharge and £100 costs.

    Theft – shoplifting

    DANIELLE EILEEN PLAYFAIR, 19, of The Square, Loughton, was fined £75 for stealing four lipsticks and two lip liners valued at £39.54 from Boots in Chelmsford on July 3.

    She must also pay a £20 victim surcharge and £55 costs to the CPS.

    ABRAHAM JOHN BOSWELL, 25, of Ashcroft Ranks Green, Fairstead, was fined £500 for stealing a can of drink valued at £1.90 from Tesco in Braintree on July 17, and being in possession of 0.5 grammes of cocaine, a controlled class A drug.

    He must pay a £50 victim surcharge, £85 costs to the CPS and the drugs are to be forfeited and destroyed.

    MONICA NORAH MCGUINESS, 39, of Church Street, Clacton, was fined £100 for stealing two pairs of sunglasses valued at £195 from Vision Express at Braintree on July 21. 

    She must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £42.50 costs to the CPS.

    JIM GEOFFREY BARTER, 20, of Braintree Road, Witham, was given a community order for stealing meat to the value of £73.68 from Tesco at Witham on July 23 while subject to a community order made on June 11 for two offences of theft. 

    He was ordered to attend Essex Senior mixed attendance centre for 36 hours, pay a £60 victim surcharge and £50 costs to the CPS.

    MICHAEL JOHN HARRIS, 47, of Hallowell Down, South Woodham Ferrers, was given a community order for stealing champagne, whiskey and brandy of an unknown value from the East of England Co-op at Burnham on April 2. 

    He was in possession of less than one gram of cannabis, a class B controlled drug, on August 6 at South Woodham Ferrers and committed the offence while subject to a conditional discharge order imposed on July 2 for 12 months for theft.

    He was ordered to participate in Education, Training and Employment for ten days, and was placed under a curfew for 12 weeks with electronic monitoring. 

    He was also ordered to participate in Thinking Skills for 19 days and attend appointments with a responsible officer. 

    He was ordered to pay £50 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS, in addition to forfeiting the drugs and having them destroyed.

    Theft – receiving

    PAUL WILLIAM JONES, 47, of Lancaster Way, Braintree, was fined £100 for receiving a pair of sunglasses valued at £110 from Vision Express, knowing them to be stolen goods, at Braintree on July 21. 

    He must also pay a £20 victim surcharge and £42.50 costs to the CPS.

    Theft – other

    STEPHEN EDWARD CARTER, 56, of Bakers Lane, West Hanningfield, was given a community order for three counts of making off without paying for petrol in Chelmsford. 

    He had taken £60.07 on June 21; £24.99 on July 3; and £44.14 on July 15. He was ordered to pay compensation of £60.07, £24.99 and £44.14 and was placed under a curfew for three months, with electronic monitoring.

    LUKE ALLAN BUTTERS, 18, of Barnbrook Lane, Tiptree, was ordered to pay £300 compensation for stealing a bicycle from William Littler at Tiptree on May 23. He must pay £85 costs to the CPS.


    SIMON KING, 38, of Clockhouse Way, Braintree, was disqualified from driving for 16 months for riding a motorcycle along the A12 at Witham on April 25 after he had been drinking. 

    The proportion of alcohol in his blood measured 124 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, more than one and a half times the limit. He was fined £110 plus a £20 victim surcharge and must pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    JOHN ATIVIE, 43, of Plumtree Avenue, Chelmsford, was banned from driving for 18 months for driving along the A130 towards Chelmsford on July 19 when he was more than one and a half times over the limit. 

    The alcohol measured 64 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. He was fined £255 and must pay a £25 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    KIM SUTTON, 40, of Ploughmans Lane, Great Notley, was banned from driving for 17 months for driving along Tabor Avenue in Braintree on July 19 after he had been drinking. 

    The alcohol measured 60 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than one and a half times the limit. He was fined £180 plus a £20 victim surcharge and must pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    LEE CHRISTOPHER GALE, 51, of Victoria Road, Writtle, was disqualified from driving for 20 months for driving along Parkway in Chelmsford on July 20 after he had been drinking. 

    The alcohol measured 76 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than double the limit. He was fined £110 and must pay a £20 victim surcharge.

    RICHARD PAUL FLYNN, 41, of The Street, Hatfield Peverel, was given a community order and disqualified from driving for three years for driving along The Street, Hatfield Peverel, on July 19 whilst under the influence of drink. 

    His breath contained 122 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than three times the limit. 

    The defendant must have treatment for alcohol dependency for six months, participate in a Thinking Skills Programme for 19 days, and attend appointments with a responsible officer. He must pay a £60 victim surcharge and £40 costs to the CPS.

    DAMIEN ERIC MCBRATNEY, 37, of Pearce Manor, Chelmsford, was given a community order and banned from driving for two years for driving a Transporter van along Stock Road, Chelmsford on July 20 after he had been drinking.

    The alcohol measured 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than two and a half times the limit. He must carry out 40 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    ROBERT ROMAN STAFIN, 26, of Warwick Close, Braintree, was given a community order and banned from driving for two years for driving along Coggeshall Road in Braintree on July 21 after he had been drinking. 

    The alcohol measured 92 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath, more than two and a half times the limit. 

    The defendant must carry out 80 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Drunk in charge

    HEDI NOLAN, 36, of Bardfield Road, Finchingfield, was given ten penalty points for being in charge of a vehicle in Tesco car park at Dunmow on July 19 after she had been drinking.

    The proportion of alcohol was 59 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than one and a half times the limit. She must pay a £100 fine plus a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Careless driving

    DAVID GARWOOD, 18, of Burgattes Road, Little Canfield, Dunmow, was given six penalty points on his driving licence for driving along Dunmow Road at Little Canfield on December 8 without due care and attention.

    While travelling around a roundabout the defendant's vehicle collided with a pedal cycle, causing the cyclist to break both knees and a leg.

    He was fined £75 and must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £90 costs.

    Named and shamed: a round up of cases heard by Essex magistrates

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