ESSEX Police says it is "continuing to engage with the community" after a protest involving up to 30 people and six vehicles brought the A127 to a standstill for more than five hours. 

Officers were contacted at about 9.45pm last night with reports of the carriageway being blocked by parked vehicles near the Shell petrol station in Basildon.

It involved between 20 and 30 individuals and five or six vehicles.

The road was closed on both the London and Southend bound carriageways until 2.30am while officers engaged with the protestors and the scene was cleared.

13-year-old Joseph Sheridan sadly died following a road traffic collision on the A127 on Monday night and enquiries are continuing into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hooper said: "Our thoughts are with the family of the boy who died and we understand it is an extremely upsetting time for them.

"Local officers were heavily engaged with the family and community in the area yesterday following this tragic incident and we did not have any information to suggest a protest would be held.


"When we received the reports of the protest shortly before 10pm, we sent local and specialist officers to the scene to engage and negotiate with those involved.

"This was a very highly emotive and sensitive situation and public safety – for those involved in the protest and road users - must always remain our priority in such incidents, especially on such a busy road.

"We would like to thank drivers for their patience while we worked hard to resolve this incident and apologise for the delays caused to them.

"This was a very difficult situation and we are continuing to engage with the community today and work with our partners to address the issues concerned.”

Essex County Council has also released a statement saying they visited the scene of the crash today. 

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “It is a tragedy when any child loses their life in a road traffic accident. Our thoughts are with the child’s family at this very difficult time.

“We are currently working with Essex Police to investigate the incident, which will take some time to complete. In the meantime, we are urgently reviewing the safety measures along this particular stretch of the A127.

“Earlier today our engineers visited the site to consider all the available options for improving safety along this stretch of dual carriageway.

“Over the coming days we will look to engage with the local community and listen to the concerns raised following this tragic incident.”

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 101.