Potential cuts to school crossing patrol services in Essex could affect children's safety, according to a supervisor.

Essex County Council has confirmed that it is looking at the service provided by lollipop people to see if it can make a saving.

School crossing aptrols are optional for councils, but Heleb Hickford, a crossing patrol supervisor for the Epping, Harlow and Uttlesford areas, said that although money saving is necessary, children's safety could be compromised if the service is removed.

She said: “The current suggestion is that they are going to remove patrols where there are other measures in place, such as a zebra crossing.

“I am not convinced that the current proposal is the best way forward.

“It is actually proven that zebra crossings are more unsafe than places where they do not have them.

“Children may not understand they they have to wait for the car to stop.”

Fifty-five schools across Essex would be affected if the service is scrapped, including Epping Primary School.

Mrs Hickford, who has worked for the council in her role for 15 years, said it is important for parents to have their say.

She said: “I know that people feel very passionately about crossing staff. Some people have done it for more than 20 years.

“I am realistic about funding cuts, I know that money must be saved.

“If parents don’t want the service then that is fine but they must have a say.”

An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: "Due to the current economic climate and the pressure on local authority budgets we are reviewing the delivery of many aspects of public service, particularly non statutory services.

"In relation to the school crossing patrol service, Essex County Council will shortly be sharing a proposal with employees and schools potentially affected.

"Until we have met with employees and informed schools about these proposals, we are unable to provide any further details and no decisions have yet been taken regarding this."