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Police appeal for help finding missing mother and twins

Police are "urgently" searching for a mother and her twin four-year-old son and daughter who have disappeared from their home in Essex.

Michelle Ross and her twins, Elsie-May and Sunny Jay, from Braintree, were last in contact with their family two weeks ago.

The mother and children were reported missing by relatives on Thursday, after they had been unable to reach them since February 19.

It is the first time the 40-year-old has gone missing and it is "very unusual" for her children to miss their nursery classes in the town, Essex Police said.

Ms Ross is described as being 5ft 6in tall, of slim build, with long straight blonde hair and blue eyes.

She also has a tattoo of the name 'Paul' on the back of her neck

The force said they did not know if the family are still in the Braintree area or have left, although Ms Ross does not have a car.

Any sightings of the mother and her children should be reported to Essex Police on 01245 491491.

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Police warned against taking sickdays for hangovers

The Chief Constable of Essex police, Stephen Kavanagh, has warned his force against taking sick leave for hangovers Credit: James Moy/James Moy Photography/Press Association Images

The Chief Constable of Essex police, Stephen Kavanagh, has warned a "small group" of his officers against taking time off sick to recover from hangovers.

He criticised the force's overall sickness record, saying officers take an average of 12 sick days a year compared to only seven among nurses at Broomfield Hospital in Colchester.

Kavanagh said some officers were "abusing the sickness management process", adding: "Every time they throw a sickie they are letting their mates down, they are letting their community down."

"if you look at the overall numbers compared to other forces, there is also a group - a small group but a group nonetheless - that are abusing the sickness management process," he said.

"If they can't get the time off, they take it sick. If they have a heavy night, on occasions they are taking days off."

Eight seriously hurt as police car collides with vehicles

Three children and five adults have been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a collision involving a marked police car and two other vehicles in Essex.

A woman in her 70s had to be freed by the fire service after her Fiat ended up on a verge, while a BMW carrying a man, woman and three boys aged five, seven and 11, was also hit.

The crash, which the serious collision investigation unit will examine, occurred on the A127 shortly before 4pm as the two-man police car was responding to an emergency with its siren and lights.

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Police probe after claims Tulisa punched blogger

Police are making enquiries after a blogger accused former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos of punching him and hurling drunken abuse at V Festival in the early hours of Sunday.

Vas Morgan claims the star charged towards him in a "drunken and angry state" and that she punched him in the eye before "hurling abusive threats".

Tulisa Contostavlos Credit: Suzan/Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment

Contostavlos' representative said: "Tulisa strongly denies assaulting Mr Morgan - she specifically denies punching Mr Morgan."

Essex Police have confirmed that they received an allegation of assault "alleged to have occurred at around midnight on Saturday at the V Festival".

"We are making further enquiries," a spokeswoman said.

Police end hunt after missing kittens found in bedroom

Police have ended their hunt for three newborn kittens believed to have been stolen from a house in Essex - after they were found hiding in a bedroom.

Essex Police launched a search for the cat burglars after the kittens were reported missing from a family home in The Chase, Barnston, this morning.

The three newborn kittens have been found hiding in a bedroom at the property. Credit: Essex Police/PA Wire

Detectives originally said it appeared only the kittens had been taken in the burglary and that it was "vital" they were reunited with their mother.

A police spokesman said in a new statement, "Members of the family discovered the three kittens behind a bedroom unit".

Family of domestic murder victim calls for public inquiry

Maria Stubbings, of Chelmsford in Essex, was strangled with a dog lead in 2008 by Marc Chivers, who had already killed a previous girlfriend.

Her brother Manuel Fernandez has told ITV Daybreak that the family have been calling for a public inquiry.

He said: "This highlights issues around domestic violence with one police force but it's actually a national problem."

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