More than 100 police officers carried out a series of dawn raids around the Basildon district targeting heroin and crack cocaine suppliers.

Officers in full body armour simultaneously targeted ten addresses, smashing open doors and arresting 16 people by 7am today.

The action was taken by Essex Police following more than three months of undercover surveillance of the Class A dealers as part of Operation Linage.

At the dawn briefing today, Supt Glenn Caton said the dealers responsible had been operating on a call centre basis using a number of runners and underlings to carry out their criminal activity.

Drugs paraphernalia were seized at a number of locations and those arrested were taken away for further questioning.

Det Insp Mark Wheeler, of the south western police division, said: "This is the culmination of a long-term operation to tackle drug dealing in the Basildon area.

"It reflects the Chief Constable's commitment to target Class A drug dealing in the community and the misery it causes.

"We will continue to take firm action against this trade and bring dealers to justice."