As the year came hurtling to a close a group of ram-raiders used similar momentum to wedge a digger into a Tesco.

In the early morning hours a red Manitou digger was driven into the Theydon Bois supermarket.

The village's traffic would be disrupted for weeks as structural engineers weighed up whether the building would remain standing with the vehicle removed.

They eventually decided it would and the digger was dragged out, only for them to discover the hapless would-be-robbers had failed to escape with the cash machine.

One Theydon Bois shop owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It’s the culmination of a spate of burglaries that have been happening.

“Every single shop down Coppice Row has basically been broken into. That’s why we have door bolts.

“They break in, run in, look for cash, and run out again."

In Loughton tensions were bubbling up amongst the car driving community.

Essex County Council launched a consultation into parking permits, outlining plans to introduced £50 and £80 annual charges to park on 63 of the town's streets.


On November 4 around 120 people staged a protest at the junction of Deepdene and Bushfields in opposition to the proposals.

Jerry Wells, chief organiser and manager of the Horse and Wells pub in Woodford, said: “What is going on at the moment is extremely worrying and strange.

“Apparently this has been worked on for a long time and it is a money-making thing.

"It will have an enormous financial impact on people."

At the end of the month the alarming story of Sonia Lard came to light.

For close to a year the Loughton resident had been subject to a suspected campaign of harassment orchestrated by someone in the USA.

As well as spreading slanderous allegations about her colleagues, the person responsible had called police to Ms Lard's house in the middle of the night.

She said: “It was terrifying when the police came round.

“I didn’t know what was going on.

“My son freaked out. They put a flash light on my house and because he was sleeping in my room which is at the front he looked out and couldn’t see the police, just a bright light.

“He started screaming.”