SPECIALIST police officers have seized hauls of drugs, cash and weapons and made more than 50 arrests as part of a county lines crackdown.

Essex Police teams retrieved more £180,000 in money and 6kg of illegal narcotics following a week of action in the likes of Clacton, Southend and Colchester.

The force’s Op Raptor crews also targeted properties in Basildon, Leigh, and Grays and arrested 55 people on suspicious of a variety of drugs and weapons offences.

In total 39 people were charged, 13 were released under investigation, and three people were released without charge.

During the searches officers seized 2.5kg of crack cocaine, 2.5kg of heroin, 56g of cocaine, 1.6kg of cannabis, 17 MDMA pills and £2,500 in designer clothing.

Thurrock Gazette:

They also discovered two knuckle dusters, two samurai swords, one sword, one zombie knife, one hunting knife, one large knife and one machete.

There were 84 phone lines, including nine county line phones found, and 10 people were referred for safeguarding.

The operation, named County Lines Intensification Week, took place between October 11 and October 17 and disrupted 13 county lines.

Acting Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, of the Essex Police Serious Violence Unit, said: “Although our work did intensify during County Lines Intensification Week, the role our Op Raptor teams perform is very a much a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week one.

“The work they put into finding County Lines, investigating them, establishing who is behind them and then building cases against those people should not be underestimated.

“But our teams are specialists in their fields. They are experts in case building, which means our suspects will not know that an overwhelming case is quietly being built against them so they can be put before the courts.”