Reports of a loud explosion being heard in Southend emerged this afternoon.

A photo taken from Victoria Avenue shows a large plume of smoke rising. 

It was taken moments after the explosion at around 2.20pm.

It is understood the plume of smoke, which came from the direction of Shoebury, had already passed within minutes of the explosion.

Qinetiq says activity is taking place on the range at the MOD site in Shoebury this afternoon but says it is part of its regular routine. 

Essex Police says it has had no reports of an explosion in the area.

The Essex Fire Service has told the Echo there was a controlled explosion on the MOD land this afternoon.