In this week's Halstead Gazette we look into the suspected increase of drug users in the public gardens.

One resident has admitted visiting the gardens on a number of occasions and being put off by groups of men drinking and seeming to take drugs in the area.

Essex Police have said officers are patrolling the area, as well as a number of areas known to them for antisocial behaviour and are working proactively in the town.

These incidents are not thought to be in connection with County Lines Gangs, and Essex Police have stated that these gangs are not operating in Halstead.

Elsewhere in the paper:

A preservation group has said it thinks a planning appeal for 72 homes in Halstead could go to a public consultation.

Halstead 21st Century Group said it is surprised the developer has taken the application to appeal.

A couple have launched a plan to convert their barn into a wedding venue and Christmas shop.

Christopher and Sophie Barr of Steeple Bumpstead are hoping their barn will be the perfect place for couples to tie the knot and grow their own Christmas trees.

A head teacher has faced his fears by taking on a 10,000ft skydive for Mind.

John Panayi, headteacher at Hedingham School and Sixth Form took on the skydive earlier this month and is hoping to raise £1,000 for the cause.

Essex Police have announced a second Special Constable will be joining Mickey Mihalyfi on the beat in Halstead.

The force said the two specials will be patrolling the town alongside other officers to increase police visibility.

Pupils are showing off their art work in the V&A Museum of Childhood in London to raise awareness of refugees.

Youngsters at Colne Engaine Primary School designed shoeboxes as part of the exhibition which is running until Sunday.

A Halstead rugby player is tackling a different challenge as he steps out of the scrum and puts on his boxing gloves.

Benjamin Bird will be stepping into the ring as he boxes at ATIK nightclub in Colchester to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

And a heartwarming spread of pupils and teachers at Richard de Clare Primary School celebrating the school's 175th anniversary.

From neon to Victorian, pupils and staff donned the looks of some of the schools past inhabitants in style.