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

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    HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS' manager Cliff Akurang gave debuts to three young players against Cheshunt on Saturday and is hoping they can all play their part in the club's fight for their Ryman League survival.

    Swifts drew 0-0 with Cheshunt on Saturday but Akurang admitted he was excited by what he saw from the youngsters.

    The Swifts' boss has brought in Jack Barham, who he says he knows well, and Akurang was equally impressed by Shamido Pedulu after he came on from the bench.

    "Jack's another one of the youngsters that I know, I took him to Maldon and he's quick, lively and energetic," said Akurang.

    "He can play in various positions, he's a natural right footer but he's comfortable playing left-back, right-back and on the wings, so with all these suspensions coming in, players like that are much-needed, but I thought he did really well.

    "As did Shamido when he came on, he's another one of the new players that I've just brought in.

    "He's got fantastic pace, energy and he wants to get at people so it's going to be exciting to see how he progresses.

    "I thought we could do with a little more pace in the side and players that can, at the drop of a hat, just turn and make something happen and I think he's going to give us that."

    Dagenham & Redbridge scholar Kurtis Pykes was also given a starting berth just in behind Jack West and Akurang believes that the Daggers man will learn about non-league football very quickly in the Ryman North.

    "I think the problem the younger guys are finding is that the senior players of this level want to try to intimidate those younger players and they want to be really physical," said Akurang.

    "The scholars have always been taught a certain way or a certain style where everything's about touch, technique, passing and movement and then they come into the non-league and find the rough and tumble of men's football.

    "The main thing for me was to find the young players that could adapt really quickly to that and it was a lesson for him today to see how these teams play."

    This Saturday Swifts travel to Ware.

    Heybridge Swifts boss Cliff Akurang pleased with young trio's debuts


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    BURNHAM RAMBLERS boss Bertie Brayley has insisted his club won't go down without a fight as they continue to battle for their Ryman League survival.

    Ramblers are without a win in 17 competitive matches and are currently 17 points adrift from safety. But with 36 points still to play for Brayley vows his side still have a chance of salvation and they won't give up.

    "Mathematically, we can still be safe, I'll go fighting right up until the end," said Brayley.

    "It's been no secret that I was left with four maybe, five players of the squad that were originally there.

    "I'll be going down fighting right until the end, there's no way I'll give up without a fight and I'm sure my players won't either.

    "We are in a very tough situation, but we have been all season, it's about rebuilding the club.

    "I've had to use a lot of players this season because I've been looking at trying to add to the squad but some weren't good enough.

    "Some of them came and played for free because Burnham's out of the way, so I've got to look at people, and that's why I've used so many players.

    "If you remember a few months ago we could have come away with at least a draw at Harlow but then the next game we lose to Great Wakering 6-1, which was our worst performance of the season.

    "It just goes to show anybody can beat anybody in this game.

    "I'm going to try to use the same squad that I've used in the last couple of weeks to finish the season and try to get a bit of stability.

    "I'm not looking to bring anyone else in and I'm just looking to build for next year, whether that be in the Ryman or the Essex Senior League."

    One of Burnham's three league wins this season came against their opponents this Saturday, Thamesmead Town, but Brayley knows it will be a different game.

    "We've beaten Thamesmead already this season but I've had to look at a lot of different players and some of them just weren't good enough for this standard and it's been very unsettling," he said.

    "We've got a different team now so I can't judge them on the last time we played Thamesmead."

    Manager Bertie Brayley won't give up on Burnham Ramblers avoiding the drop


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    BRAINTREE Town midfielder Matt Paine believed it was imperative his side got back to winning ways on their return to the Conference Premier after a month without a league encounter.

    Town had only played two league matches in 2015 until Saturday, thanks to games being postponed and their FA Trophy commitments, but they put that behind them by beating relegation-threatened Alfreton Town 2-1 at home.

    During the break Paine admitted manager Alan Devonshire had got the team working hard in training and believes that's what ultimately got them the three points at the weekend.

    "It was great to be back in league action, it's been a while since we last played and, to top it off with a win was very good," said Paine.

    "We got another three points and it's nice to get back to playing for points as we've had commitments in the FA Trophy.

    "It was just another game for us, we go into every game aiming to win so I think our mind-set was pretty similar to any other game.

    "In the break we've trained hard, there were four or five sessions where we did a lot of running to work on our fitness and some ball work and I think Saturday was just the final piece."

    Nine of the past 15 fixtures for Braintree are away from home, starting with Halifax Town this Saturday, but Paine feels his team will be more than capable of finishing the season strongly.

    "The gaffer has made it quite clear that our target is to reach 50 points as soon as we can and then whatever happens from there will be a bonus really," said Paine.

    "As a group of players we thought this year we could have matched what we did last year but we've been unfortunate with injuries, matched with a bit of bad luck here and there.

    "On the plus side, we've had a pretty decent FA Trophy run so it's something the players can be proud of.

    "Away from home we seem to play a little bit better.

    "Our away record is second to none in the league and probably on the away form guide we'd be in the top half of the league.

    "We'll go to the game on Saturday against Halifax Town and face it like any other game. We went to Halifax last year and ground out a 1-1 draw on a Thursday night and that was after travelling to Southport on the Tuesday.

    "Hopefully we can press on this year and maybe take the three points instead of just the one."

    Midfielder Matt Paine feels extra practice paid off for Braintree Town


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    WITHAM Town assistant manager Brad King hopes his side's luck has changed after a 3-1 win over Harrow Borough on Tuesday saw them move three points clear of the Ryman Premier relegation zone.

    Town dropped into the bottom four for the first time this season two weeks ago, but the past seven days have brought two draws and a win, including a point at title-chasing Maidstone United on Saturday.

    With Harrow also fighting for their status in the division, it was always going to be a tight game but King was happy to see his side move further clear of the drop zone.

    "It's obviously a great feeling to finally get those three points because it doesn't matter whether our performances have deserved it or not we haven't had it and it's good for confidence," said King. "It gives Harrow and Bury an awful lot to do now to come and overtake us in the league so unless Harrow win eight or nine of their last 12 games then I think they won't catch us.

    "Without putting too much pressure on the boys we knew it really was a case of must-win against Harrow otherwise it would have caused us problems.

    "The boys, deep down, knew what they had to do and they carried on putting in the performance that the last six or seven eight games have deserved.

    "Maybe now our luck might start to change, we're three games unbeaten now against Canvey Island, Maidstone and Harrow so hopefully we'll start to get points on the board.

    "Before the game I said I wanted them to start with a good tempo and obviously we scored in the seventh minute.

    "They're doing what we're asking of them and I believe we just have to keep the momentum going now.

    "We can't look back, we can only look forward now and we've got 15 cup finals up until the end of the season.

    "Garry [Kimble, manager] and I have always said that we believe in the boys, we believe that they can do it and in the last week or so they've proved that."

    This weekend Witham take on 16th-placed Peacehaven & Telscome and King believes it's vital they maintain their form.

    "We threw a 3-1 lead away at Peacehaven earlier in the season and they've had a lot of changes behind the scenes but they're going to come ready for a dogfight," said King.

    "We've got to make sure that we keep believing in ourselves because our home form is really important to us staying up and we've got quite a few home games left so we need to make them count."

    Assistant manager King hopes Witham Town have turned a corner


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    CHELMSFORD City captain Mark Hughes is hopeful his side can turn things around after successive defeats in their push for a Conference South play-off place.

    Losses at Maidenhead United and Concord Rangers have meant the Clarets have lost their past four away games, but they remain seventh in the table, five points off fifth.

    They face another away trip on Saturday, this time to Hemel Hempstead, who have games in hand on City and are a point and a place behind them, but Hughes believes there's nothing to worry about.

    "We had enough chances in the Maidenhead and Wealdstone games to win ten games, that's down to missed chances, the other two could have gone either way," said the skipper.

    "The performances were really good, it was just a case of putting the ball in the back of the net.

    "We don't really know what happened on the day [at Maidenhead], it was just one of those days, if we were at home we probably would have won it but we'll just move on now.

    "We're just a young side and that happens sometimes, you have these off days, but it would be a lot more worrying if we were getting battered.

    "It keeps the mood up that we've got good form at home, it's just away and I'm sure it will turn around.

    "After Saturday we have six games at home so we're well aware that the three away games were our toughest patch from now until the end of the season because it's quite rare you get three in a row away from home.

    "Home has been good, crowds have been picking up and our pitch has been good since Christmas, which has helped us."

    Although City are seventh and close to the play-offs, several teams below them have games in hand. However, Hughes is hopeful his side can kick on to make sure the play-off race goes right down to the wire.

    "We didn't get too carried away when we were sitting in third because we knew other teams had games in hand and it proved last year that it will go down to the last day of the season." said the captain. "As long as we're in touching distance and we want it to go down to those last few games, that's our aim.

    "The expectation from the fans and the management at the start of the season was to finish where we are now so it's important we kick on and try to improve on that.

    "I think when Hemel came to us it was one of the best games we played at home and we were on fire that day.

    "They'll be wary of us because I think they know we're a decent young team, it's one of those because we just want to put it right after being so frustrated after the last two results and not playing too badly."

    Chelmsford City can still home in on  play-off slot says skipper Mark Hughes


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    CHELMSFORD'S Daryl Selby tried to look at the positives after losing to his old adversary Nick Matthew in the British Squash Championship final on Sunday.

    Selby beat the odds in 2011 to outwit Matthew to take the crown, but this time it proved too much for the World No 14.

    Matthew won in three straight games to take his record seventh British title but Selby was proud to have reached that stage.

    "It was pretty disappointing but at the same time, considering my preparation, I'm pretty pleased to have made the final," said Selby. "Not that I played that badly, just mentally I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind for it. It was a tough test, I had literally got back from America the night before [the Championships] so I was a little bit jaded for the first round but I played all right after that.

    "I think in the final Nick was just a little bit too strong as he was a lot more motivated because he was going for the record amount of British titles.

    "I tried to remember what happened in 2011 and why I won, but I've not had that much training because I was injured for six months for the second half of last year so I'm probably not in as good condition as I was four years ago to be able to beat him and that probably made a bit of a difference.

    "You have to look at the positives sometimes and I played some good squash to get to the final, I just didn't produce my best game on the finals day, but Nick Matthew was a bit better."

    With World Series competitions in Chicago and Egypt coming up, there's still plenty of opportunities for Selby to build on his runners-up position and he's hoping to break back into the top ten.

    "I've got a tournament next week in Chicago which is a big tournament and I could well have to play Nick again in the last 16, so that will be a nice chance to try and improve on what I did in the British Nationals.

    "I've actually played Nick quite a lot in the last few months, we've had a couple of close games in New York and in Manchester so I'm hoping to reproduce that sort of squash rather than what I did in the final.

    "From being injured for a large portion of last year, I've dropped out of the top ten so it would be nice to be able to work my way back.

    "Looking further ahead we've got to defend our [England's] world team title in December so I want to make sure I'm in form for that, make the team for a start, but also be in a position to help the team again and try to have a chance to defend our title."

    Daryl Selby looks for positives after defeat in British Squash Championship final


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    Essex Police are appealing for help to identify a suspect wanted in connection to a home invasion burglary in Danbury which took place while the elderly home owner was asleep.

    Officers say that the victim, an elderly man, was awoken at his home in Hoynors, Danbury by an intruder.

    After the elderly man disturbed a burglar, they left the house empty handed.

    Essex police have now released this efit image, following the incident, hoping that residents may be able to identify the man pictured.

    The incident happened on Wednesday January 28th at around 5.50pm at the road which is near the Tesco petrol garage on Maldon Road.

    Anyone who recognises the man depicted in the efit is asked to contact Pc Warren Joseph at Chelmsford CID on 101.

    People can also give information to the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

    Essex police release efit of man wanted in connection with burglary


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    Police are appealing for two missing teenagers to return home or make contact with police.

    Officers are growing concerned for the welfare of 14-year-old Wafa Benaziza and 16-year-old Ryan Thomas who have been missing from their homes in Maldon and Brentwood since Friday, February 13, 2015.

    They are believed to be together in north or east London.

    Wafa is 5ft 7in tall and has very long straight brown hair. She was last seen wearing black leggings, a black jacket with a fur collar and black and red trainers. 

    She could be carrying a cream and black shoulder bag.

    Ryan, known as Jay or J-Stacks to friends, is 5ft 10in and has short afro hair and a moustache. 

    He usually wears a diamond stud earring in one ear and has a tattoo of the word 'believe' on his right hand. 

    He was last seen wearing grey jogging bottoms, a dark grey Nike hooded top and a blue Nike puffa jacket. Ryan could pass for older than his age.

    Both are known to use social media and police hope this appeal will reach them and their friends and encourage them to return home.

    Wafa and Ryan or anyone who knows of their whereabouts is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.

    Can you help? Police appeal for two missing Essex teenagers


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    A drug dealer has been convicted of stabbing to death a fellow pusher over a drugs turf war.

    Luke Eva, 25, of Avondale Road, Leigh on Sea, was found guilty of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court today of killing Michael Haastrup at a flat in Cressing Road, Braintree after a fight broke out between the pair and another man on April 16 last year.

    Jurors heard during the three-week trial that both men were dealing heroin and crack cocaine in the Braintree area.

    Chelmsford Crown Court was told how the two men had known each other for 10 years, but had fallen out when Eva moved from selling drugs in Southend to Braintree.

    Tension grew as Haastrup was able to procure better quality Class A drugs than his rival.

    Telephone logs were shown to the jury detailing calls between Mr Haastrup and Eva the day of the killing.

    Haastrup and his friend, James McGowan, arrived at the home of Colin Cornelius at around 8.30pm carrying bags of crack and heroin with a view to him selling the drugs.

    Eva arrived by taxi at around 10.44pm and once inside a fight involving knives, walking sticks, a belt, and pieces of wood spilled out into the street.

    Haastrup received a stab wound to the chest and one to the left thigh. He later died at Broomfield Hospital at 7.30am on April 17.

    The defendant fled to his girlfriend's house in Springfields, Braintree and was arrested in Loughton on April 17.

    Eva admitted taking a combat knife to the flat but denied murder, claiming he acted in self defence.

    This afternoon Judge Charles Gratwicke directed them to give a majority verdict of 10 to two if they were unable to come to a unanimous decision.

    But the jury of eight men and four women took 16 hours 33 minutes to reach a verdict.

    Eva will have to wait until Friday to discover his sentence.

    Judge Charles Gratwicke said: "You have been convicted by this jury of what can only be described as a vicious murder of a fellow drug dealer. "You will no doubt be aware that you can expect a substantial custodial sentence."

    BREAKING: Luke Eva guilty of murdering  Michael Haastrup in Cressing Road, Braintree


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    DCI Mark Hall, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, led the investigation into Michael's death. He explained that due to the ferocity of the attack the knife blade snapped and was left at the scene.

    During a detailed search of a house in Braintree that Eva visited after the murder officers found blood stained clothing and crucially a protective case for a kitchen knife. Forensic examination exactly matched the case to the knife broken blade found at the scene. 

    This evidence proved Eva had taken a knife to the scene with him.Speaking after the verdict, he said: "I welcome this guilty verdict to give some peace to Michael's family and friends. Michael was a young man who had just become a father.

    "His life was cut short by the actions of Luke Eva on that night in Braintree. Both men were involved in a dispute over drugs which ended in a confrontation that had fatal consequences. This case illustrates the deadly impact that drugs and knife crime can have on families, societies and the local community.

    "Michael's death devastated his family." 

    In a statement issued shortly after he died, his family, said: "Michael was a new father, a son, a brother and a good friend who had his whole life ahead of him. He had just got a new job and had a lovely new home with his partner and new son, Eli.

    "He was loved by many and helped people when he could. He used to bring in young homeless children to spend Christmas with his family to make them feel a part of this world again and bring hope into their lives.

    "May his humble soul rest in peace."

    PICTURES: Essex Police reveal Michael Haastrup murder evidence


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    A teenager from Maldon was the target of an attempted robbery on Monday (February 16).

    The 18-year-old man, was walking along Prince Philip Road, Colchester around 4.15pm when he was grabbed from behind by a man who demanded cash from him.

    After the victim refused the suspect went to punch him but missed. He then walked off.

    The man is described as white, in his late teens, of very slim build, around 5 ft 9 ins tall and was wearing a black hooded top and navy tracksuit bottoms with white stripes down the sides.

    Anybody who witnessed the incident or anyone who has any information about what happened is asked to contact officers at Colchester CID on Essex Police 101.

    People can also give information to the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via an Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

    Maldon teenager victim of attempted robbery in Colchester


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    A Burnham-on-Crouch woman died after accidentally hanging herself in what may have been a cry for help, Essex coroner's court heard today.

    Lindy Marie Barker, aged 53, was discovered by a friend in the bedroom of a property on Glendale Close on October 8 2014.

    Ms Barker, who had a history of depression, as well as a drug and alcohol dependency, was found with a dressing gown cord around her neck.

    Between 12 and 14 unknown pills were found in a toilet near the scene.

    Mrs Eleanor McGann, hearing the case, claimed there was not enough evidence to prove a suicide verdict and so recorded the cause of death as the result of an accident.

    She said: "Someone with depression staging a cry for help can hang themselves without the intention to do so.

    "All she would have had to have done would be lean forward and without realising could have hanged herself; I'm not satisfied it was a deliberate act."

    Mrs McGann also claimed that Ms Barker's family were convinced she would not have deliberately taken her own life. 

    Burnham-on-Crouch woman dead in 'cry for help' hanging


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    AN EXTREME distance runner has had her quest to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents thwarted by poor weather on the last leg of her trip in Antarctica.

    Fiona Oakes, 43, owns the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Asheldham, and had just completed marathons in Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Tunisia, New York and Punta Arenas in Chile.

    But a charter plane to take her and 34 other contestants to St George Island on Antarctica was delayed for two days due to fog and with no indication as to when they might be able to fly, Fiona decided to return to the UK to care for the hundreds of animals at her animal sanctuary.

    Staunch vegan Fiona, who ran in a cow suit to raise awareness of animal cruelty and a vegan lifestyle, said: "I'm feeling like a big, fat failure right now. So near yet so far. I want to curl up and die.

    "I wanted to do this for the animals. To show solidarity for our friends who suffer in silence and have no voice. I hoped this would give them one, for all those souls who endure the brutality of the human hand every day of their pitiful lives and now, by cruel chance, I cannot do that.

    "For me, it's OK to fail, but to fail for them is very hard."

    Fiona is already the holder of three Guinness World Records for distance running, and began her quest for a fourth on Sunday, February 8, in Melbourne, Australia, raising more than £2,000 in the process.

    She was actually on the plane heading to St George Island when the pilot notified her and the other runners that visibility was too poor to land and returned to South America.

    In 2013 she won the Antarctic ice marathon, but was stranded for a week waiting to come home to the UK because of bad weather.

    In a statement to her Facebook followers she said: "This was always the biggest risk, as the weather in that part of the world can change very quickly and, of course, safety comes first."

    The organisers of the Triple Seven Quest intentionally leave Antarctica until last because each of the routes are officially organised marathons, which are open to the public, and therefore if delayed due to weather the team will have missed all the other races.

    If the team had completed the final marathon, they would have broken the world record for completing seven marathons on seven continents, held by Wendelin Lauxen, at 21 days, five hours and 33 minutes.

    Despite her disappointment, Fiona added: "I guess I will wear the cow suit in MdS instead," in reference to her running the Marathon Des Sables in North Africa in a cow suit too.

    As the Chronicle went to press, the remaining contestants were still waiting to head over to Antarctica.

    Heartbreak for Fiona Oakes as seven marathons in seven days bid is thwarted by Antarctica fog


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    A 26-year-old woman from Southend will appear in court today charged with the murder of 24-year-old Anton Levin on November 19, 2014.

    Danielle Russell was arrested on Tuesday, February 17, and has been charged with murder acting together with the two teenagers, boys aged 16 from Thurrock and 17 from Basildon, who have already been charged.

    Miss Russell, of St Anns Road, has also been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to cause GBH with intent and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Anton Levin from Dagenham died at a property in St Anns Road on Wednesday, November 19.

    A post mortem examination showed the he died as a result of a stab wound. 

    Another man, also aged 24, was also stabbed.She has been remanded in police custody to appear before magistrates in Southend tomorrow.

    Woman, 26, becomes third person charged with murder after man stabbed


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    DETECTIVES are appealing to Chronicle readers to help identify this man who is wanted for the sexual assault of a woman on the Bunny Walks in Chelmsford.

    Police insist the attack on Friday, February 13, at about 5.45am, was an isolated incident, although three similar attacks nearby in January and March last year remain unsolved.

    The victim, who is in her 30s and from Chelmsford, was groped, but Chief Inspector Alan Cook, the District Commander, says it could have been far worse if she had not fought back, forcing the man to flee in the direction of Springfield Road.

    "Had the victim not fought, and caused the attacker to run off, we don't know what could have happened," Chief Inspector Cook said.

    "Initially on CCTV, it looked like the woman was being dragged by the attacker, but that wasn't the case, and she actually managed to kick the man.

    "Had she not been as quick to respond, we don't know where it would have led."

    The suspect is described as white, in his early to mid-30s, of slim build and was wearing a dark green jacket, which could have been a body warmer, with white trainers. DS Nathan Hutchinson said: "We want to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and saw or heard what was going on.

    "The man in the image was captured on CCTV in the area around the time of the incident and we are keen to speak to him."

    The most recent attack followed a similar pattern to assaults which happened in or around the Bunny Walks on January 10, March 1 and March 8 last year, as on each occasion the women were grabbed from behind by a male attacker who groped their breasts.

    But while police said they would be looking at the credentials of past incidents in the area, to see whether there were any similarities, they stressed that it was far too early to make any link.

    Despite various attacks in the same area over the past few years, including a rape in December 2007, Chief Inspector Cook said the Bunny Walks had not recently been flagged as a crime hotspot, although he added that any remote area in a city could be a perfect location for "individuals to do strange things".

    "The Bunny Walks isn't a hotspot, but I accept that over time, it is the sort of area where things like this could happen," said Chief Inspector Cook.

    "After the serious rape there, CCTV was installed and the fact that we have caught this image on CCTV is fantastic.

    "The partnership has been doing a review of places like underpasses and looking at whether things like lighting and CCTV are adequate, so Bunny Walks may be worth assessing as well.

    "I would also consider extra patrols in the area."

    Due to the secluded nature of the Bunny Walks, several residents of Hill View Road, which backs onto the wooded area by Riverside Retail Park, say they avoid walking there after dark.

    "If you are on your own there, you're quite vulnerable," said one resident, who did not want to be named. "I won't walk home that way in winter as it gets dark so early."

    Another resident pointed to the number of university students who used the Bunny Walks as a shortcut, urging them to be cautious when walking alone.

    Police renew CCTV appeal after Bunny Walks sex attack in Chelmsford


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    THIS is the first look at how a pub, shut for more than a year, will look after a £1.6 million revamp.

    The Rose and Crown in High Street, Maldon, is set to open in June as a JD Wetherspoon after previous owners Punch Taverns sold up in December 2013.

    Renovation work starts on Monday and former Mayor of Maldon and Maldon district and town councillor Stephen Savage, whose ward includes the pub, believes the budget chain's arrival will benefit the town.

    He told the Chronicle: "The town council and I were enthusiastic about the planning application and I think this will enhance our town and set an example to other establishments. It is an exciting enterprise for the family.

    "The pub will provide much-needed jobs and the company has an outstanding record of training, recruiting and promoting within the company. They have spent a lot of money and we are sure it will look splendid.

    "They look after their staff like no other, in my opinion, and they can really bring something to an area. Hopefully, like-minded companies can follow suit."

    The Rose and Crown dates back to the 16th century, and Wetherspoon say the design "reflects the period of the building" as well as the "style of the surrounding Essex area".

    Likely to create about 45 jobs, the pub will not have a theme, unlike other Wetherspoon establishments across the country.

    But news the pub chain is moving into the town has not been welcomed by everyone.

    Gill Crawford, 47, from Keep Maldon Unique, which promotes independent traders in the town, said: "I'm delighted they would like to spend over £1.5 million on the building – it's just a shame whose name it is above the door. It's not very unique, like so much of Maldon.

    "Wetherspoons does not have a very good reputation and I will not be going in there. I'd prefer to go to other pubs.

    "It's such a shame an independent pub couldn't take over. I've enjoyed open mic nights, local bands and real and cask ales in the Rose and Crown – that will never happen with a Wetherspoons.

    "I live nearby and I am worried about the noise at the weekends too."

    Campaigners were furious when Punch Taverns closed it in 2013 because the historic pub's landlords had restored it as best they could, only to have to leave after it was sold without any consultation.

    JD Wetherspoon, which has 872 establishments in the UK, was in discussions to buy the old post office, next to Moot Hall, in June 2013.

    But the pub chain scrapped its plans after disagreements with Maldon District Council.

    The site has now been occupied by Morrisons Local.

    Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "We are pleased we are starting building work very soon and looking forward to opening our pub at the end of June.

    "We believe the pub will appeal to a wide range of people and also be an excellent addition to the town."

    First glimpse of what Maldon Wetherspoons will look like at former Rose and Crown pub


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    A man is wanted by police after again breaching his court bail conditions ahead of his robbery trial.

    Terry Jacobs, from Waltham Abbey, was last known to be living in Caterham Court. 

    He is believed to have breached his bail conditions by entering Sun Street in Waltham Abbey on August 27, 2014 and also for stealing groceries from the Co-Op in Sun Street on December 8, 2014.

    The robbery for which he is due to stand trial, happened in Waltham Abbey in January 2013. 

    Terry Jacobs, 30, is black, approximately 6ft 2in tall and is of medium build. 

    He is generally clean shaven and has a one inch long scar above his left eye and a half inch scar above his right eye.

    Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Terry Jacobs is urged to contact detectives at Epping police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

    Man, 30, wanted by police for breaching bail conditions ahead of robbery trial


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    New data has revealed that train operators Abellio Greater Anglia is the second most tweeted about commuter route concerning delays. 

    Figures released by Commute London revealed that London commuters tweeted train companies more than 70,000 times concerning cancellations and more than 62,000 about overcrowding, according to the study.

    Abellio Greater Anglia runs train routes between Chelmsford, Shenfield, Southminster, Witham, and Colchester into London. 

    Of the 1.77 million tweets sent in 2014 to the 14 train companies which run services into London, research showed that Abellio Greater Anglia (41,120) had the second most tweets about delays.

    First Great Western, at 45,100, had the most tweets about delays and Southern (34,645) was third in the list.

    The train company that passengers tweeted about the most was First Great Western (265,201 tweets), followed by Virgin Trains (257,254) and Abellio Greater Anglia (241,038).

    The study also revealed that train company commuters tweeted train companies with more than 280,000 tweets about delays last year.

    At 9,314, Abellio Greater Anglia, also had the third most tweets about cancellations (12,481).

    A total of 280,960 tweets used words such as "delay", "late" and "stuck";

    And 62,352 tweets were about overcrowding, using words such as "crowd", "sardine" and "no seat".

    Commute London director Daren Wood said: "Social media sites like Twitter provide commuters with an open forum to make complaints, provide feedback and make themselves heard by others.

    "Our analysis shows that the train companies need to make much better use of their Twitter feeds if they wish to keep customers happy by listening and learning from criticism."

    One example this week was from Fabian (@Germantleman) who tweeted: "In case you ever wanted to experience the life of a sardine, take a train to Chelmsford from London at rush hour, voilà."

    Train operator Abellio Greater Anglia the second most tweeted about commuter route concerning delays reveals new data


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    The railway firm servicing Essex has been voted the fourth worst in the country.

    Abellio Greater Anglia has an approval rating of 46 per cent according to the results of a national customer satisfaction survey announced by website Which? on Monday.

    The operator has shrugged off the results, pointing to the small sample size of just 389 people who ranked Greater Anglia, but critics have condemned the firm.

    "It's just another indication of the poor quality of service," said David Bigg, chairman of the Braintree and Witham Rail Users' Association.

    "People are actually fed up with Greater Anglia and what we are finding consistently is people want the trains to run on time, run safely, they want waiting room facilities and they want booking room facilities.

    "Commuters are also busy, busy, people.

    "You have people trying to get to airports and hospitals and if a train is late it can disrupt people's lives quite a lot."

    Mr Bigg, who monitors the service, said 24.1 per cent of peak trains between Braintree and Chelmsford were more than 5 minutes delayed this January, compared with 14.3 per cent in January 2014.

    Grand Central, which runs just four trains a day between London and Bradford, topped the table of 21 operators while the Thameslink & Great Northern/First Capital Connect firm ranked last.

    A total 7,309 people took part in the online survey, scoring the availability of seating, toilet cleanliness, condition of the train, punctuality and value for money.

    While ranking low, Abellio was voted the worst in the same survey last year with a 40 per cent satisfaction rating.

    A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: "More correspondents in the 2014 Which? survey were satisfied with their journey than the previous year.

    "However this survey is based on a much smaller sample of Abellio Greater Anglia customers, with 389 surveyed compared to the 2,164 who participated in the recent National Passenger Survey where 80 per cent of our customers told Passenger Focus they were satisfied."

    She continued: "We are investing over £30 million in improving customer service, train performance and our train fleet as part of the current short franchise to October 2016.

    "We recognise there is much more to do to improve customer satisfaction and our commitment to invest in improving services in addition to the investment that Network Rail is making in infrastructure upgrades, demonstrates our commitment to do all we can to improve services for rail passengers across our network.

    "We are also continuing to promote good value fares and ticket offers and we are introducing an online delay repay service for our annual season-ticket holders to help ensure they can claim compensation under this scheme more easily."

    Buses are replacing all Greater Anglia trains between Colchester and Shenfield on weekends until April to allow engineers to complete a £15 million rail upgrade.

    Abellio also announced last week it will be bidding to the Department for Transport for free Wi-Fi on its trains at the end of the year.

    A Which? survey spokesman said: "Our surveys measure overall satisfaction with a company and whether people would be likely to recommend it. 

    "We take great care to weight results by each train company's market share and the type of passengers it carries. 

    "Instead of quibbling about our methodology we would like to see train companies welcome and act on this feedback from their customers."

    Essex operator Abellio Greater Anglia voted fourth worst in Which? survey


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    Parents have been warned about the safety of amber teething bracelets after a husband and wife were fined for selling hazardous bracelet and anklets, intended for infants.

    Essex Trading Standards prosecuted Simon and Marie Clarke, who run Love Amber, from Hay Green, Witham.

    The couple appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (February 17) charged with two charges of breaching the General Product Safety Regulations.

    They were accused of supplying a 14 cm cherry black amber child bracelet anklet and an 11cm raw amber honey amber bracelet anklet, which could have been a choking, inhalation or ingestion risk to children under 36 months.

    The pair pleaded guilty and they each were fined £500 and ordered to pay £2,198 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

    Cllr Roger Walters, Essex County Council Trading Standards lead said: "This jewellery was little and contains parts which were too small to give to a baby or toddler.

    "Essex Trading Standards remains vigilant against traders who deliberately flout regulations which exist to protect the safety of children."

    Amber teething jewellery claims to help teething pain, as the amber is supposed to contain an analgesic which is absorbed into the blood when the jewellery is worn against the skin.

    The county council said this case did not revolve around whether the claims are proven or not, but the hazards of selling small pieces of jewellery specifically for babies and infants.

    Essex Trading Standards advise that there is currently no independent scientific evidence that amber provides any relief to teething infants and that parents should consult with their child's GP or health visitor for advice about pain relief.

    Warning to parents over amber teething bracelets after Witham couple fined for selling dangerous jewellery


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