The Muslim community in Chelmsford welcomed more than 300 people to the Central Mosque today to give them a better understanding of Islam.
It comes after a reported increase in hate crimes and Donald Trump's recent travel ban.
The Chelmsford Muslim Society says there's been a need to engage with the local community for some time.
It's been really good, really positive.
Some people have never been here before, one or two people have and quite a few people will have been surprised about how similar the religion is with Christianity and with Judaism so for us it's been really nice, really positive.
The prisons minister has admitted Chelmsford prison has "staffing challenges".
The admission by Sam Gyimah came in a meeting with the town's MP Sir Simon Burns, who was raising issues following damning reports from government inspectors.
Among the conclusions was that greater drug use among inmates was leading to higher levels of violence.
Mr Gyimah also said Chelmsford Prison was a priority site for officers to be equipped with body cams to help carry out their duties.
Multi-million pound plans to upgrade some of the Essex road system will be unveiled later this month.
Essex County Council is upgrading the Fairglen Interchange, where the A127 meets the A130.
It connects towns such as Basildon, Chelmsford, Southend and Thurrock.
They are hoping to make it suitable for use until 2045.
Police are "concerned" for the welfare of a missing teenager from Essex.
17-year-old Patrick Habimana was last seen on 6 January.
He is from North Weald, but he has links to Chelmsford and the Redbridge area of London.
Officers are urging anyone who knows of his whereabouts to get in contact.
Essex Police are warning members of the public about a potentially dangerous batch of drugs after a number of incidents in the Chelmsford area.
A man and a woman were found unwell in a vehicle on Langton Avenue after police were called to concerns for their welfare. They have been taken to hospital for treatment.
Police also received reports of concern for the welfare of a man in Rainsford Road and a man in Duke Street.
Investigating officers believe all three incidents are drug-related.
Detective Inspector Matt Cornish is warning people who have bought heroin or cocaine in Chelmsford in the last 24 hours to throw them away. He also wants people to tell the police where they bought them so they can find those responsible and remove these drugs from circulation.
We are concerned there may be a potentially dodgy and dangerous batch of drugs currently being sold in the area which pose a direct threat to the safety of those who’ve bought them and are using them.
Firefighters say a blaze in a bedroom in Chelmsford was started by the sun's reflection on a mirror.
Crews were called to Fifth Avenue just before 1pm yesterday afternoon.
Smoke was billowing from a first-floor front window and the elderly couple living there have been made homeless.
Investigators found the sun's reflection had caused an intense beam of heat which set fire to nearby curtains or clothing.
"To minimise the risk of fire it's important to make sure mirrors and other reflective objects such as crystal and glass ornaments should be kept out of direct sunlight.
"It's also vital to make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home."
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Police in Essex say they're concerned for the welfare of a 'vulnerable' man who has gone missing from Chelmsford.
45-year-old Richard Goodbody was last seen at around 9.15pm last night.
He is described white, of slim build, 5ft 8ins tall with short brown hair.
He was wearing a dark blue, short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and dark grey trainers.
Anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101.
Essex police have paid tribute to an officer who died on duty.
Inspector Mark Estall of the Force Support Unit was on duty at the Boreham operational base just outside Chelmsford on Thursday January 5.
Colleagues tried to help him after he was taken ill, but despite their efforts, and those of paramedics and air ambulance staff, he died.
The 45-year-old officer had served with the force for nearly 27 years.
Chief Supt Rachel Nolan, head of Operational Policing Command based at Boreham, said: "Essex Police has lost one of our great officers. Always professional, invariably cheerful and a highly skilled member of the force.
"Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”
Flags around the force were flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.