WICKFORD Police Station has been put up for sale with a price tag of three quarters of a million pounds.

It comes after the front counter of the station in London Road was closed to the public in November 2011, and two years after police made the decision to close its doors permanently.

The force defended its plans to cut the number of stations two years ago, saying residents prefer to call them or visit online.

Wickford station is one of several being sold as the estate is reduced from 80 to approximately 30 buildings.

Essex Police says it costs £10million a year in running costs to manage its buildings, and that they would require £30million of maintenance work to bring them up to standard.

Campaigners have called for resources to be ploughed back into the town.

Clare Gregory, who co-runs the Wickford Crimewatch Facebook page, hopes police will take on a shop in the High Street.

She said: “I think it’s important to have that visible presence, and for somewhere people can just pop in and see us.

“We obviously have no right to dictate how they spend the money from the sale, but that is how we would like to see it spent.

“Having Ian Grant and Debbie Edwards, our PCSOs, back in Wickford would be perfect, as they know the town like the back of their hands, which would be a big help.”

Chief Inspector Sam Smith, District Commander for Basildon, says the money can be “better invested in preventing and fighting crime by recruiting officers and investing in technology to help them do their job.”

She added: “We know that people are attached to their local police stations, but the reality is that policing is not reliant on buildings.

“The community want local, visible and accessible policing, and Wickford will continue to be policed by dedicated officers.

“Essex Police has given all 2,000 of its uniformed officers smartphones enabling officers to perform key policing tasks without having to return to police stations, meaning they have more time to fight crime and more time to spend on patrol.”