A MAN was arrested after police tried to stop travellers taking part in illegal horse racing down the A127.

Three horses and traps were seen racing along the eastbound carriageway of the A127 between Great Warley and West Horndon junctions shortly after 7am on Sunday morning.

About 20 vehicles followed the horses, several completely blocking the carriageways, hard shoulder, a cycle track and the pavement.

Inspector Stephen Pearce of Chigwell Road Policing Unit said that there had been an increase in this kind of incident and several races had been held along that stretch of road since the start of the year.

He said: "We believe the people involved have absolutely no regard for the safety of other road users."

A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of obstructing police, dangerous driving and having an offensive weapon and is being questioned by police.

Mr Pearce added: "This shows a blatant disregard for road safety and for anyone who wanted to travel along that stretch of road.

"We want to put a stop to this practice. We will take positive action against anyone who is involved. We urge the public to give us any information about the people who run these races. I hope people will quickly phone 999 if ever they see horses and traps and a convoy of vehicles preparing to hold races in future."

Anyone with information about the incident on Sunday should contact Chigwell Road Policing Unit on 01279 621866.