Police have uncovered a large quantity of cannabis plants along with 100 vehicles after a raid on a warehouse.

Officers were alerted to the property after reports one of three stolen Mercedes could be traced to the location in Burnt Mills Road, North Benfleet.

Police were contacted with reports of a burglary at car rental business Avis in Arterial Road, Southend, sometime between 3.30pm on Saturday December 9 and 6.20am on Monday, December 11.

A safe containing keys was stolen, along with three Mercedes cars.

Polce officers received further information shortly before 7.15pm that one of the cars had been traced to industrial premises in Burnt Mills Road. 

Officers attended and a search warrant was carried out. The Mercedes was found dismantled and a large number of other car parts were also found. 

There were also around 100 other vehicles, including high value cars, and enquiries are being made to check their ownership. 

During the search of the site, officers found about 100 cannabis plants growing in a workshop. 

Shortly before 12.30am today, Tuesday December 12, further information was received that another of the cars stolen from Avis had been seen on the A13 at Stanford-le-Hope. 

Officers followed the car and a pursuit was authorised. 

The Mercedes stopped in the Crossways Business Park in Dartford and three men fled the car.

One, a 20-year-old man from London, was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and is currently in custody for questioning. 

Officers want to speak to witnesses who saw anyone acting suspiciously near Avis in Arterial Road, Southend, between 3.30pm on Saturday December 9 and 6.20am on Monday, December 11.

They would also like to speak to anyone who has found a safe that has been discarded. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Southend CID on 101 quoting reference 42/174919/17 or report online at www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online 

Alternatively, contact independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.