TWO men have been arrested in Basildon by police investigating cooking oil thefts.

A white van carrying several barrels of suspected stolen cooking oil was stopped by officers in Basildon after the vehicle was picked up by automatic number plate registration technology.

Two men were arrested after the vehicle was stopped in Basildon.

Police say the arrests follow reports of cooking oil thefts across numerous counties as reports of similar incidents have spikes across the country in recent months.

Last month police in Derbyshire said stolen cooking oil could be resold at about 50p a litre following a spate thefts across the county.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: “Our operator notified officers of an ANPR activation in the Basildon area regarding a vehicle involved in the theft of cooking oil across a number of counties. The vehicle was stopped by Basildon officers and two men have been arrested for theft.”