POLICE say officers have made more than 300 arrests over the course of seven days following protests in the Thurrock district.

Yesterday, Friday, April 8, marked one week since the beginning of the protests.

The protests have seen disruption to roads and oil refineries in Purfleet and West Thurrock, with protesters often gluing or locking themselves to tanker lorries.

Now Essex Police say 338 protestors have been arrested during the week.

Assistant Chief Constable Glen Pavelin said: “Our officers have been absolutely outstanding over the past week.

"They’ve continued to deal with a complex and challenging situation in a really fair, balanced way.

“As a result of these protests, officers have been working around the clock.

“They’ve worked longer shifts to balance protests and protect and serve people across our county – tackling crimes from domestic abuse to burglaries, responding to serious collisions, and launching a murder investigation in Brentwood.

“All this has meant they’ve been missing out on time at home, with a lot of parents missing out on time with their children over half term.

“I’m so proud of all of the hard work of our officers and all our partners who have been involved, including Thurrock Council, the East of England Ambulance Service and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, as well as the local fuel companies, all of whom we’ve been working closely with through the past week.

“As we said yesterday – we want our officers to be protecting and serving the people of Essex, and catching criminals who are causing significant harm to the people of our county.

“Making 338 arrests in seven days – between Friday 1 and Friday 8 April – has been challenging on our resources, but we must stop people from committing offences.

“Policing is not anti-protest, but we will continue to make arrests as long as crimes continue to be committed during these protests.”

There is no activity currently reported at any Essex sites so far today, Saturday, April 9.