A POLICE helicopter scouring Canvey for a gang of suspected thieves nabbed a man driving with no insurance.

Officers were called to Link Road after residents reported a group of suspicious looking people had been spotted in the area.

They were also told a gang of people had tried to steal a forklift truck from an address in the road.

Essex Police’s helicopter was launched and hovered over homes on the island, trying to trace the group.

However, while they were attempting to find the suspects, police on the ground spotted a man leaving a moped in the road and driving off in a car at speed.

The force’s helicopter was diverted from the search for the suspected thieves and helped officers on the ground trace the moped driver.

He was stopped and found to be driving without insurance. A police spokeswoman said: “While the helicopter was in the area dealing with the forklift truck, police officers on the ground spotted a motorist getting off his moped, into a Ford KA and speeding off.”

The drama started at 3.20pm on Sunday when three men, two white and one black, were seen acting suspiciously close to where the forklift truck was parked behind a house.

The truck was not stolen, but suffered some damaged and the police helicopter was sent in to carry out a search of the area.

A police spokeswoman said the suspects had not been caught.

Themoped driver was caught in Third Avenue and admitted to driving without insurance.

He has since been reported for driving without insurance and his vehicle has been seized.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.