SEVEN men have been arrested in a three-county police operation to crack down on drug dealing and theft.

Operation Claymore is Essex Police-led but also involves officers from the Metropolitan and Hertfordshire police forces.

The men arrested were suspected of offences including possession of drugs with intent to supply, possession of an offensive weapon, criminal damage, drug driving and drunk driving.

Two vehicles were seized, including one reported stolen from another county in the days before the operation.

Epping Forest Guardian: Two vehicles were seized including one that had been reported stolenTwo vehicles were seized including one that had been reported stolen (Image: Essex Police)

There were also 33 stops and searches made on the night, with 23 intelligence reports submitted.

PC Ross Ashcroft, who coordinated the operation, said: "We are targeting organised criminal gangs using the road network to commit offences including burglary, theft, and the supply of drugs.

"These criminals travel between counties and from one force area to another. We want to prevent them from crossing the borders and committing those offences.

"Getting different forces and teams to work together and share intelligence about the people and groups committing a high-harm crime is invaluable.

"By having specialist officers proactively hunting down vehicles linked to crime, we are making it an incredibly hostile environment for these individuals to operate in and providing a significant deterrent."