TRAFFIC police were stunned when they spotted a child sat in a car as they chased a suspect through Southend.

Police immediately called off the short pursuit, which started when the driver failed to stop for a routine check in London Road on Monday.

Officers have now appealed for information or dashcam footage and said an incident where a second vehicle hit a police car during the short pursuit is being linked.

Sgt Rob Dalton, of the casualty reduction section, said: “Enquiries are still ongoing.

“We would appeal for anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage of what happened to contact Essex Police.”

The incident came during a traffic operation which saw 76 drivers caught for driving without a seatbelt.

Officers also dealt with ten drivers found to be using their mobile phones.

Two people were arrested during the operation.

A 19-year-old man from Westcliff was also arrested on suspicion of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving without a valid licence, driving without valid insurance, dwelling burglary and theft of a motor vehicle. He was charged for failing to stop for police when directed, driving without insurance and dangerous driving. He will appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on October 17.

A 37-year-old woman, of no fixed address, was arrested on suspicion of failing to appear at court. Police have not revealed what she had been charged with.

She will now appear at Basildon Crown Court this month.

Officers are continuing to investigate the theft of a car and a burglary in relation to the man, but he has not been arrested for those offences.

Four drivers were found to be driving without valid insurance and had their cars seized under Section 165. Three drivers were found to be driving in excess of the speed limit.

Two cyclists also received tickets after they were spotted jumping a red light on the A13.

Matt Hine, operational tasking supervisor at the casualty reduction section, said: “Our traffic operations help to keep Essex roads safe by targeting those who pose a risk to other road users.

“However, in a lot of cases, motoring offences will uncover more serious crimes. This operation demonstrates how the use of stop searches and automatic number plate recognition can assist us in bringing offenders to justice.”