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Man charged with kidnapping three-year-old boy

Robert Gurling will appear in court on Monday charged with kidnapping. Credit: Essex Police

A man has been charged with kidnap following the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

Essex Police are no longer searching for the young boy, who is safe after he went missing last Sunday, sparking a search across the county.

Tradesman Robert Gurling, 45, from Romford, will remain in custody until his appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Laurence Payne, 40, a computer programmer, also from Romford, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court today charged with assisting an offender, in connection with the investigation.

He was remanded in custody until later this month, when he will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court.

A woman from Guildford in Surrey has also been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and has been released on bail.

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Hunt for father who abducted three-year-old son

Robert Gurling was last seen in Great Notley near Braintree, Essex yesterday. Credit: Essex Police

A massive manhunt is under way after a father abducted his three-year-old son from his foster parents.

Robert Gurling is only allowed contact with his son under supervision but kidnapped the youngster.

They were last seen in Great Notley near Braintree in Essex at about 10.30am yesterday.

Police search teams and a helicopter have been combing the area in an "urgent" search for the pair but have not found them.

Detectives are appealing to the public to help trace Mr Gurling, who is described as white, in his 40s, 6ft tall and of medium build, with cropped dark brown greying hair and was wearing a grey tracksuit top and jeans.

The boy has blonde hair and was wearing a jacket, grey tracksuit bottoms and red trainers. They may be travelling in a blue car.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett of Essex Police said: "Anyone who sees them should phone 999 immediately or call Essex Police on 01245 282103."

Chelmsford road re-opens after suspicious package scare

Essex Police have re-opened a road in central Chelmsford. Duke Street had been closed after a suspicious package was reported but it has now been found to contain "nothing of concern."

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Wildlife experts herd pod of whales into deeper water

A pod of pilot whales spotted off the Essex coast are being herded out to open water in an effort to stop them becoming beached.

Wildlife experts, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Essex Police's marine unit are trying to coax the 40-strong group further out to sea so they avoid becoming stranded on mud flats near the shore.

The whales were spotted sheltering near the Blackwater Estuary, a shallow stretch of water dotted with several shoals and mud flats that could prove deadly to the whales if they become trapped at low tide.

Colchester A&E restrictions will last for about a week

Colchester hospital has warned people to stay away from its accident and emergency department, unless they have a serious or life-threatening condition - restrictions which are expected to last for at least a week.

The announcement follows a surprise inspection by health regulators as ITV news reporter Harry Smith reports:

Labour: English hospitals 'overwhelmed by pressure'

Labour MP Jamie Reed said English A&E departments are in crisis. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Hospitals in England are facing chaos in A&E departments and being "overwhelmed by pressure", a shadow health minister has claimed.

After Colchester Hospital reported a "major incident" following concerns raised by a surprise inspection, Labour's Jamie Reed said people "deserve to know how ministers will turn this situation around".

"The Government must make a statement on whether the hospital is safe, has enough staff and if it is providing acceptable care," he added.

Minsters have ignored repeated warnings about the chaos in A&E across England and now whole hospitals are being overwhelmed by the pressure.

By making it harder to get a GP appointment, pushing elderly care services to the brink of collapse and wasting £3 billion on a top-down reorganisation, this Government has caused a crisis in A&E.

– Jamie Reed, shadow health minister
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