ESSEX Police's chief constable has issued a rallying cry to residents and is urging them to follow the lockdown rules.

But Ben-Julian Harrington has warned his officers will take action against anyone who is "blatantly, flagrantly and dangerously" flouting the restrictions.

In a short video message to residents across the county, Mr Harrington has thanked the majority of people for staying at home and limiting social contact.

He said: "New Government restrictions are tough for everyone. We must all continue to work together to protect the NHS and keep people safe across the whole of Essex.

"In a county with some of the highest infection rates in the UK, it is so important that every one of us stops to think about what we can do to stop the transmission of the disease as we all want to protect the NHS and help save lives.

"So thank you to all of you who are staying at home, who are staying safe and who are protecting the NHS."

Mr Harrington says his officers will continue to engage with the public and encourage people to follow the lockdown rules before they consider enforcement action.

But he has called on Essex residents to play their part in the pandemic by staying at home and following the rules.

He added: "Don’t do this for me, do this for your friends, family and if nothing else, support the heroes in our health and care services, and in our hospitals and care homes.

"I want to thank all of them, our ambulance crews and our firefighters - who driving ambulances - for the tireless work they are doing on the frontline fighting this pandemic.

"And of course a thank you to my staff who continue to work so hard.

"Let’s all do our bit to help them."