Over £40,000 was seized and more than 30 arrests were made in a multi-police force operation to tackle drug supply and associated with violent crime.
On Wednesday, 22 July, officers from Essex Police worked alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, Kent and British Transport Police in a joint operation to target criminals using the roads and rail networks who were suspected of transporting drugs in and out of London, Kent and Essex.
Officers used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and targeted vehicles believed to be linked to violent crime.
Overall, the operation resulted in 32 arrests for offences including possession of an offensive weapon, being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and drug driving.
More than £40,000 cash seized, 14 vehicles were seized for motoring offences and three stolen vehicles were recovered.
In Essex, five vehicles were seized for being uninsured and one stolen caravan was recovered.
Eight people were arrested for various offences and have been released under investigation while we continue our enquiries. The details are as follows:
* A car was stopped on the A128 Ongar Road in Brentwood and during a search the driver was found with a four figure sum of cash and a number of mobile phones, which were believed to be connected to drugs supply.
The 43-year-old man from Romford was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supplying controlled drugs.
* A Volkswagen Golf was stopped on the A13 in Thurrock after information it may have been linked to the theft of a large amount of alcohol from Birmingham.
Officers found 64 bottles of spirits in the boot and the driver, a 28-year-old man from Barking, was arrested on suspicion of theft.
* A caravan stolen from Buckinghamshire was recovered at junction 30 on the M25 near Grays. The driver of the vehicle towing the caravan, a 34-year-old man from Basildon, was arrested and questioned. He was later released under investigation on suspicion of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.
* A 28-year-old man from Purfleet was stopped on the A1306 in Grays and arrested on suspicion of drug-driving, possession of drugs, taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance. He has been released under investigation.
* Four men were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving.
Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, of Essex Police, said: “Every day we’re making Essex a hostile place for drug dealers by targeting criminals using the full range of tactics and legal powers available to us.
“Crime has no borders so working with our police colleagues in other forces is crucial to tackling these criminal networks and protecting children and vulnerable adults who are often groomed and exploited.
“This is just one example of the work we’re doing here in Essex and with other agencies to bring offenders to justice and tackle the root causes of why people become involved in drug-related crime.
“Under Operation Sceptre, we carry out patrols every day and gather intelligence and evidence to target those involved in supplying drugs and serious violence.
“However enforcement alone is not enough to tackle this complex issue.
“We’re also working with organisations in the criminal justice system, youth offending teams, charities and councils to help divert people away from a life of crime and protect those at risk of becoming victims.”
If you have information about anyone involved in drugs, weapon carrying or exploitation, please tell us so we can take action and ensure vulnerable people are protected.
If you don’t want to speak to the police, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org. They are an independent charity and you will remain 100% anonymous.
For more information about Operation Sceptre and how to get help for someone you are worried about, visit https://www.essex.police.uk/opsceptre