A controlled explosion on Ministry of Defence land caused a huge plume of smoke in the skies over Southend this afternoon. 

Residents began reporting having heard an explosion across the town at around 2.20pm today.

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

It was taken moments after the explosion.

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

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. 

Residents reported how the plume of smoke, which came from the direction of Shoebury, had already passed within minutes of the explosion.

Read more >> Loud explosion and large smoke cloud spotted in Southend

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

The Ministry of Defence provides a schedule of when activity on its site in Shoebury may mean explosions can be heard across the area. 

Anyone with concerns about activity on the site should contact 0800 0560108.

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