A POLICE car smashed into a lamp post during a high-speed chase connected to a £100,000 gun theft.

A man sparked the pursuit after he fled following a series of early morning raids in Southend and Benfleet aimed at tracking down shotguns and rifles.

Fourteen people have now been arrested in connection with the theft.

Three men – aged 30, 33 and 34 – and a 20-year-old woman were the latest to be arrested.

The arrests come after officers raided every flat in Poole House, Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary, as reported in last week’s Gazette.

Police are still hunting for the majority of the guns, having so far recovered just a “handful” of them.

Four people have already appeared in court charged with conspiring to steal firearms from a lorry which pulled over in the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate, Basildon, on Thursday, April 17.

Six more people are on bail until later this month.

Innocent bystanders were caught up in Tuesday’s chase in Leigh and Westcliff.

Mum Sophie Tucker wrote on Facebook: “Me and my two-year-old had to run up someone’s driveway because of the van these police were chasing. He was driving like a mad man.”

The police car crashed in Blenheim Chase, Leigh, just before 11am. The van driver is still at large.