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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.

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."

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