More than £200,000 in cash has been seized along with weapons, drugs and vehicles across three counties during a co-ordinated day of action to tackle organised crime and county lines.

Essex Police officers executed three search warrants in the south of the county yesterday, Wednesday August 21, to assist Kent Police.

Warrants were also carried out in Kent and London, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Task Force.

Throughout the course of the operation, 12 people were arrested across three counties.

At an address on Kenway in Southend, officers discovered more than 50 Class A wraps, a knuckle duster and five mobile phones.

A 25-year-old man from East London was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs and causing criminal damage to a vehicle. 

A 46-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs after we executed a warrant in Burdette Avenue, Westcliff.

Police also recovered cannabis, white powder and a three-figure sum of cash.

A third man, a 33-year-old from Leigh, was arrested at a property in Grand Drive, Leigh, on suspicion of the same offence.

All three remain in the custody of Kent Police.

In London, Met officers raided five separate properties suspected to be linked to county lines and the supply of drugs into Kent. They recovered items including imitation firearms, knives and machetes, along with up to £10,000 in cash and quantities of Class A drugs.

Southend Standard:

Warrants at four properties in Kent saw seizures of £190,000 in cash, half a kilogram of what is suspected to be cocaine, designer watches, and a machete.

Superintendent Mick Gardner of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who led the operation, said: “We remain absolutely determined in our efforts to tackle the organised criminal gangs who seek to operate drug supply networks in Kent.

“Working closely with other police forces enables us to share resources, intelligence and robust strategies, which we know are making it harder and harder for criminals who target some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

This operation is an example of the work officers take part in on a regular basis with neighbouring forces.

Working together, they work to disrupt organised crime groups and drugs gangs operating across the county and they tackle the violent crime associated with this type of criminality.

This includes Operation Sceptre, which is the force's crackdown on serious violence in public spaces, with a focus on reducing knife crimes.

Op Sceptre began in April and has been extended thanks to £1.76 million in funding from the Home Office.