FIREFIGHTERS in Essex have taken part in a 24 hour strike.

The strike began at 9am on Thursday morning.

They are taking industrial action as part of a national dispute over retirement age and pensions.

Emergency arrangements have been put in place to provide some fire cover in Essex.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "Members of the public should continue to dial 999 in an emergency and we will respond.

"Businesses, just make a note to follow up automatic alarms with a phone call to ensure a response."

And in a message to residents and businesses the spokesman added: "It's important we are able to direct our resources where they are needed most during the next 24 hours, so please be safer, be slower, be vigilant."

It is the first of a number of strikes.

During the first seven hours there were five incidents including a major bus fire on the M11 and a electrical danger in Colchester after a property in Gazelle Court, Highwoods, flooded.