CASH to fund PCSOs has been kept by councils despite it nolonger being needed for the roles, it has been claimed.

Mistley Parish Council has been criticised for charging residents for PCSOs they no-longer pay for.

In April Essex Police scrapped match-funded schemes as part of a wave of cost-cutting across the force.

Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley councils had spent £34,000 a year on the dedicated officers.

One villager, who does not want to be named, said: "Residents are paying for services that don't exist and, as a double whammy, not only has Mistley Parish Council taken the PCSO money for 2014/15 the council is also looking for residents to police the local area for free."

But Mistley chairman Martin Rayner, said by the time the council found out the police were set to axe the scheme the precept had already been agreed.

"At the moment the money, which is about £11 per household, is being used for other good projects," he said.

Manningtree mayor Lee Lay-Flurrie said no decision on next year's precept would be made until closer to the time, but Lawford Parish Council chairman Alan Coley said their PCSO precept, which was paid quarterly in arrears, will not be charged in the village next year.