It's five years ago this week since a police station was put up for sale as a force sought to reduce its property bill.

Essex Police has put a former station up for sale as the force looks to cut the £10 million it spends each year on property upkeep.

Waltham Abbey police station, in Sun Street, will be put on the market as part of a plan to reduce the number of police-owned buildings in the county from 80 to 30.

The station was controversially closed to the public in 2011, as part of a plan to slash £41 million from the force’s budget.

District commander for Epping Forest, Chief inspector Lewis Basford, said: “Waltham Abbey will continue to be policed by dedicated officers who will respond to emergencies, investigate crimes, work to resolve local problems and work alongside partners.”

"These officers have also been equipped with smartphones that enable them to perform key policing tasks whilst out on patrol.

“This means they can spend more time on the frontline being visible and accessible to the community they serve.”

Officers remained stationed at Waltham Abbey behind closed doors until September last year, when the decision was taken to shut the location entirely.

Public desks at Epping and Loughton police stations closed in April last year, while Ongar station closed in 2011.

Epping Forest residents now have to travel to Harlow to report a crime face-to-face.

The police estate currently costs £10 million a year in running costs and would need an extra £30 million of maintenance work to bring them up to standard.

Roger Hirst, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said: “We need to invest in a modern police force where officers can spend more time out in their communities and not in stations completing paperwork.

“By rationalising our estate and investing in technology we can give our officers the tools to log and register crimes while they are out and about.

“We can help them become more visible and deliver a better service to the public.”