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Factory closure is 'devastating news' for staff

The closure of the Heinz factory in north Norfolk is "devastating news" for workers, union representatives have said.

Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, said the timing of the announcement - just days before Christmas - made it particularly upsetting.

David Gill, Usdaw national officer, said the workers did "not deserve this" but acknowledged the loss of the contract with the owner of the Aunt Bessie's brand had been a big blow to the factory.

"Confirmation of the closure is devastating news for our members, their families and the wider community, particularly just before Christmas.

"Our priority is to work with the company to help find alternative employment for the staff. We will continue in consultation meetings throughout January to agree the procedures for the expected closure of the plant in April.

"There is no doubt that the loyal and committed staff on-site do not deserve this, but the loss of the Aunt Bessie's contract has proved to be a fatal blow."

– David Gill, Usdaw.

Heinz to close Norfolk factory

The Heinz factory at Westwick, Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Heinz has confirmed it will close its Westwick factory in Norfolk next year.

The food manufacturer first began consulting on plans to shut the site near North Walsham in October following a decision by the William Jackson Food Group - owner of the Aunt Bessie's Brand - not to renew its licence with the company.

Heinz says, without the contract to manufacture its frozen potato products, there is no longer enough work to keep the factory operating.

A spokesman said attempts to find a buyer for the site had failed.

The factory will continue operating until April 2015, when the Aunt Bessie's licence ends.

Heinz will now focus its efforts on helping workers to find other jobs and will carry on discussing closure plans with unions until at least mid-January.

Have you seen missing 12-year-old Tina?

Tina Mackenzie who has gone missing from her home in Essex. Credit: Essex Police.

A 12-year-old girl has gone missing from her home near Southend in Essex.

Tina Mackenzie, from Great Wakering, was last seen outside Future College at Southchurch Boulevard in Southend.

She was due to return home at 8pm on Friday.

Her mother, Penny Mackenzie, said she was very concerned about her daughter who she said was not "street wise" around Southend.

Tina is 5ft 5in tall, a slim build, with straight light-brown, shoulder-length hair. She has brown eyes and a pale complexion.

The schoolgirl was last seen wearing stone-washed blue jeans, a black vest top and a burgundy leather jacket.

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Greater Anglia trains suspended until further notice

Trains on the Great Eastern Mainline are at a standstill this afternoon.

Operator Abellio Greater Anglia says there are problems with the electricity supply between Shenfield and Chelmsford.

It means all trains out of London Liverpool Street heading to Chelmsford and Norwich have been suspended.

Greater Anglia is warning passengers to expect delays and cancellations. It is not known when services will begin again.

Teenager charged with murder over Chelmsford park killing

Ashley Woolley, who was killed in Chelmsford. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A teenager has been charged with murdering an 18-year-old man in a Chelmsford park.

Police today officially named Ashley Woolley, who lived in the town, as the victim of Thursday's attack in Oaklands Park at Moulsham Street.

The teenager was stabbed as he walked home from college at about 3.15pm

A 17-year-old boy from Chelmsford was arrested on Friday and has now been charged with murder and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place.

He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court this morning and was remanded in youth custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday.

A 19-year-old man from Maldon, who was also arrested in connection with the investigation, has been released from custody without charge.

'Black Friday' lives up to its name as ambulance crews kept busy

An East of England Ambulance Service crew heads out in response to a call. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The region's ambulance trust dealt with more than 2,700 emergency calls last night as crews battled through what has been dubbed "Black Friday".

Emergency services had expected it to be a busy evening as many people headed out for festive celebrations on the final weekend before Christmas.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it saw a 7.5% increase on the average volume of daily calls over the last four weeks.

The trust's locality director Matt Broad urged people to think carefully before dialling 999.

“We were extremely busy yesterday and last night, but I would like to thank our staff in the control rooms and on the frontline who worked really hard to provide a good service to patients.

"The Christmas and winter period is always busy for the ambulance service and I would encourage anyone who needs medical help to choose well – if you need help but it is not an emergency please call 111, which is open 24 hours a day and who will be able to get the right help for you.”

– Matt Broad, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Alistair Cook: 'I'm gutted'

Alistair Cook says he is "gutted" to have been left out of England's World Cup squad.

The Essex cricketer and former Bedfordshire schoolboy has been replaced by Eoin Morgan as captain.

"I am gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad, and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment.

"That said I wish Peter, Eoin and the lads all the best for the World Cup.

"I would also like to thank all the players and fans who have supported me during my time as one-day captain."

– Alistair Cook.
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