Police in Essex have confirmed that a huge search operation is underway after Canvey Island was reported missing at around 8am on Sunday morning due to the arrival of Storm Ciara and its high winds.

A police helicopter is currently assisting with the search as it was already flying over the area at the time, as per usual.

Jemima Charfleets lives in South Benfleet, and she described her shock at looking out of her window only to see that the island had gone.

She said: ‘Just before I have breakfast every morning, I make sure to look out of my kitchen window and say a prayer for all of the people who live on the island, but today I went to the window and noticed that there was nothing there – just Kent and those weird Giraffe crane things.’

‘I hope that they find it soon – it’s the only Morrisons in the area that has a petrol station.’

Dr Horace Harris of the US Meterological Institute told our Chief Reporter that satellite images could provide some clues.

He said: ‘Snapshots from the time of the event show the landmass shifting towards Shoeburyness before heading out into the North Sea.’

Further reports this morning confirm that Dr Harris’ data may be correct, and a number of Canvey residents have been in touch to say that their island is currently floating past Zeebrugge, with a number of Belgian drag racing enthusiasts eagerly waiting to see if it collides with the port on the Roscommon Way side.

We asked a member of Castle Point Borough Council for an update on the whereabouts of Canvey.

A spokesperson said, ‘Who?’