DRUGS worth £60,000 were seized, 22 people were arrested and seven weapons were seized during a week-long crackdown on gangs.

Police forces across the UK carried out a week of action to target those involved in county line networks.

Nationally the targeted activity, which was co-ordinated by the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre (NLCC), saw more than 700 arrests and almost half a million pounds worth of drugs seized.

In Essex officers, including Essex Police’s specialist Operation Raptor teams, executed warrants at properties in Colchester, Clacton, Southend and Purfleet.

They also carried out a number of arrests of those suspected of being involved in the supply and sale of drugs in the county.

In total 22 people were arrested and Class A drugs were seized including 20 grams of crack cocaine, 65 grams of heroin, 852 grams of cocaine and 266 cannabis plants.

Weapons were taken off the street including knives, an asp and a locksaw plus more than £2,000 cash, thought to be the proceeds of drug dealing.

Following the crackdown Det Chief Insp Rob Kirby of the Serious Crime Directorate said: “County line gangs are ruthless, exploiting the vulnerable members of our community, from those using drugs to young children who think they offer an attractive lifestyle.

“These gangs sell drugs within our communities without a second thought for the harm they cause.

“They also won’t think twice about using violence against rival dealers or those who cannot pay debts and forcing others to perpetrate that violence for them.

“Every day our specialist Operation Raptor teams are out on our streets protecting those at risk and arresting and locking up those who think they can come to our county and deal drugs on our street.

“We will continue to work with our partners, both in the community and in law enforcement across the country to work together to tackle these ruthless criminals.”

Anyone with information about drug or gang-related crime in your community call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.