Police are once again reaching out to communities as part of their annual Christmas appeal.

Officers are collecting gifts as part of their annual appeal to bring joy to vulnerable children for the holidays who may otherwise receive little or nothing.

Last year, the force received more than 10,000 presents in just over a fortnight.

Those wanting to help should buy and deliver a chosen gift suitable for a child from new-born up to the age of 18.

The police cannot accept second-hand presents and all donations must be unwrapped.

Residents can also donate wrapping paper for officers and staff to wrap the presents.

Another alternative is to order online and get a present delivered straight to your local police station.

Insp Kelly Thurston said: “Our communities are always so generous with their donations to our appeal. However, we appreciate that times are tough again this year and not everyone is able to spare the cash.

“But if you are able to donate, please know that we really do appreciate each and every present we are given to pass on to some of the most vulnerable children in our county. In many cases, your present will be the only gift they receive this Christmas.

“We work with colleagues in our children and young people and child abuse investigation teams plus Children Social Care and other local organisations partners in each district to identify those children who will most benefit from your generosity on Christmas Day.”

Gifts from the Braintree district can be dropped off at the police station in Blythe’s Meadows at the back of the Sainsbury’s car park.

The deadline is December 18 and donations can be made between 9am and 5pm all week.