A knife was found and a man has been charged after a large police presence in Southend city centre yesterday.

Essex Police officers were conducting a Project Servator deployment in the High Street on Thursday, when they were alerted to a man causing a disturbance at one of the city’s food outlets.

Officers responded and conducted a search, where a knife was found.

Alan Strickland, 37, of York Road, Southend was arrested and later charged with being in possession of a knife or sharp pointed article in a public place, and theft from a shop.

He is due to appear at Southend Magistrate’s Court on February 19.

Echo: Officers at Southend AirportOfficers at Southend Airport (Image: Essex Police)

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Project Servator works to disrupt a range of criminal activity, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.

"Our officers are experienced and specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone is planning or preparing to commit an act of crime."

The specialist officers had also been at Southend Airport earlier in the day speaking with customers and staff about the importance of reporting suspicious behaviour, while also looking out for the signs someone might be information gathering to commit a crime.

The team also spent time at South Essex College, speaking to, and reassuring students.