ESSEX Police is taking part in a European-wide day of action to crack down on criminal networks selling stolen mobile phones.

The Metropolitan Police is leading the UK-part of the operation and working with Europol and other international enforcement agencies.

As well as the UK, forces in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Sweden are taking part in the operation.

Measures taking place include:

-border force operations.

-joint patrolling.

-automatic number plate recognition operations

-processing of foreign national offenders

-undercover licensing operations.

They aim to target organised criminal networks who frequently change their operational base to avoid capture or detection by police in any given part of the UK or European country.

Commander Stephen Watson, from the Met, said: "These efforts should stand as a clear warning to mobile phone criminals that we are narrowing in on criminal activity and the organised networks they may operate in, who will soon have no place to hide within this country or Europe. We are tracking and understanding how their illegal practices operate with a view to putting them behind bars and reducing this large scale volume crime.

"The Metropolitan Police Service and our partners are committed to driving down crime and what generates it in London and further afield.

"Work continues day in and day out alongside our partners to target those responsible but highly visible operations such as Operation Big Wing play a major part in the fight against crime."