Police in Colchester are dealing with a rise in the number of illegal items imported into the UK.

Colchester's Community Policing Team have investigated a growing number of cases as part of Operation Gloss - which has seen officers arrest or search the homes of people set to buy the suspicious packages.

Items including Class A drugs, knives and realistic imitation firearms have all recently been seized at Heathrow and Stansted Airports, destined for the streets of Colchester.

A spokesman for Colchester's team said: "This is part of a multi agency approach to prevent weapons ending up on our streets and in the 'wrong' hands.

"This Christmas, if you'd prefer Postman Pat to knock on your door rather than Officer Dibble or Chief Wiggum, please check the importation laws of this country before you click."

This month, Essex Police announced a crackdown on serious crime had seen police intercept more than 100 parcels filled with drugs and weapons which were bound for Essex.

Essex Police has been working with the UK Border Force on a faster referral system for dealing with drugs, prohibited weapons and firearms components that are flown into the UK via a postal hub near Heathrow.

During the past nine months, police have been notified of 123 suspicious packages by Border Force, with 67 of the parcels contained weapons and the other 56 stashed with drugs.