Police say there is no risk or offences committed after parents raised the alarm about suspected "child-napping" across Southend and Leigh.

At least three parents took to social media to report a couple were acting strange around children - with one mum being followed by a woman who tried to take her young daughter.

But an Essex Police spokesman said: "Following reports circulating online about people acting suspiciously in south Essex - particularly around young people - we want to reassure you that there is no risk to the general public.

"We have reviewed the information online and can confirm we're not currently investigating any criminal offences that are linked to the posts.

"We can also confirm that only one incident was reported to us and this concerned a comment a woman made to a child as she walked with relatives in Leigh-on-Sea yesterday, Sunday 20 September.

"We have received no other reports concerning her behaviour and there is no criminal investigation arising as a result of that call.

We understand that the information within the posts would have been concerning and my officers have assessed all the information available to them.

"Please continue to be vigilant, continue to go about your daily lives and report any concerns you have to us by calling 101 or by visiting www.essex.police.uk. Always all 999 in an emergency."