DOZENS of people have been arrested and £40,000 seized following a crackdown on drug dealing and violent crime.

A police operation carried out in Essex and Kent on Wednesday saw officers make 32 arrests and seize 14 vehicles.

Among those arrested was a 34-year-old man from Basildon.

The operation saw officers from Essex Police work with colleagues in London and in Kent to track down vehicles believed to be linked to violent crime.

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.

The arrests were made in connection with the following incidents:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. A 43-year-old man from Romford was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supplying controlled drugs.

Four men were also arrested on suspicion of drug-driving.

Speaking after the operation, chief insp Lewis Basford 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.”

Anyone with information about violent crime or drug dealing should call police on 101.