It's five years ago this week since two police stations in the district closed their doors to the public for the last time.

Public desks at Epping Forest’s two police stations will close permanently at the end of today.

Front counters at Essex Police’s Loughton and Epping stations will shut for the last time at 5pm this afternoon (March 31) as part of plans by the force to save millions of pounds.

The Epping station will close completely, while Loughton will remain as a base for officers in the district.

People from Epping Forest will now have to travel to Harlow to report a crime in person.

The decision to close the two stations has been a controversial one.

Essex Police was accused by Epping councillor Jon Whitehouse of becoming “remote from the community”.

A district council report in January warned private companies could be called in to deal with antisocial behaviour due to “significant reductions” in police coverage.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We explained fully last year why we have to modernise the Essex Police estate.

"We must also modernise the ways that the public can contact the police to better reflect the way we now live our lives.

"I understand that people are attached to their local police stations and this was taken into careful account at the time.

"However very few people report crimes at police stations, and we must make it possible for members of the public to use secure online systems both to tell police about crimes and track the progress of investigations.

"Loughton will remain an important operational base for Essex Police.”