The Dartford Crossing and the Dartford Tunnel are currently CLOSED due to a blockade of both Essex exits by the immigration pressure group Essex First – eyewitnesses have reported that there are already tailbacks of fifteen miles in both directions.

The trouble started at around 4pm today when a co-ordinated convoy of vehicles pulled up on the Thurrock side and 1000 members of the group stepped out and formed two blockades. All traffic ground to a halt immediately, and within a few minutes it became clear that the protest has been organised over concerns about record numbers of Kent residents entering Essex illegally through the tunnel – a story that we broke first last year.

The event organiser, Essex First campaign manager Burt Sledge, vowed that the protest and the resulting chaos will continue until the group’s demands are met – this includes doubling the toll charges from Kent into Essex and adopting a points-based immigration system for any ethnic Kentish natives who wish to stay in the county for more than 2 weeks. He said: ‘Our message is clear. Essex is already full to bursting point, and more and more people from Kent want to come here and clog up our award winning hospitals in Basildon and Southend. Contrary to whatever everyone else says, we are not a racist group – we simply feel that it is time to start looking after our own. Some of our best friends are Kents!’

He continued: ‘From our Facebook page, it is clear that millions of people agree with us – well they agree about animal cruelty and the elderly anyway. As proud Essex people, why should we put up with half of Canterbury turning up when they have a perfectly good cathedral of their own. This is the same county that doesn’t give a second thought to taking all of Southend’s tidal water twice a day, and now they want to impose their own views in every other walk of our county’s life.’

While the protest is in place, motorists are being advised to use the planned third Lower Thames Crossing as an alternative route.