SEVENTY-FIVE police officers will be out in force across Essex tonight as England take part in their first world cup match against Italy.

Officers will be targeting town centres including Colchester, ahead of the 11pm kick-off and into the early hours.

Pubs are expected to be heaving with football fans.

Extra double and single crewed cars will also be readily available if needed.

Officers will also be checking drivers and cracking down on those who choose to drink and drive.

They will be targeting drivers who may be over the limit from the night before – having stayed up late watching the game.

Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet, of Essex Police, said: "Essex Police has planned carefully to ensure we have the right number of officers working at key stages during the world cup.

"The tournament is a celebration of football and a chance to feel national pride. It is however just game and can never be an excuse for violence or disorder. We’ll be working hard to make sure football fans and their families and friends are able to enjoy the matches safely.

"If you chose to watch any of the games in a town centre you will see officers on duty. They will be equipped, trained and on the ground ready to deal with any disorder before it happens.

"I hope everyone enjoys the World Cup but experience tells us we need to plan for the minority who spoil things. Very often drinking too much alcohol is at the root of the problem. My message to anyone planning to go out tonight is have a great time, enjoy the game but please be sensible. Everything in moderation, don’t wake up in police cell regretting a moment’s madness.

"Anyone who does overstep the mark, spoiling the match for everyone else, will be dealt with promptly and professionally by officers. Where appropriate, that will include pursing matters through the court system."