SEVERAL homes have been evacuated and a cordon set up following a gas leak near to the A127 this afternoon. 

Police and firefighters are dealing with the incident in Brook Road, Rayleigh. 

They were first called to the scene around 3.40pm and say Brook Road is likely to remain shut for the rest of the evening. 

A spokesman for Essex Fire Service said: "Firefighters are working alongside the gas board to make the area safe.

"Brook Road will likely remain closed for most of this evening and a safety cordon around the area affected is in place.

"A small number of properties close to the site have been evacuated as a precaution.

"If you live nearby, please keep your windows and doors closed."

People are being advised to avoid the area if possible. 

Fire crews from Rayleigh, Leigh and Hawkwell have been called to the scene.

A spokesman for Essex Police says officers are supporting the fire service in dealing with the incident.

Update 6pm

Firefighters have left the scene in the hands of the gas board after the gas leak was capped.