A MAN wanted in connection with 50 stolen car reports has been arrested after a chop shop was uncovered in south Essex - with a BMW still in the process of being stripped of its parts.

Police alongside members of the Environment Agency attended Dennises Lane, in South Ockendon, after concerns affecting the road networks. There, officers came across two men climbing over a fence in an area they shouldn't be.

After speaking to the men, officers' suspicions were raised further when a blank set of car keys for a Mercedes and a set of BMW keys were found.

The blank keys seemed to be for a van parked outside one of the nearby garages, but the BMW could not be seen anywhere.

Thurrock Gazette: Two men have been arrestedTwo men have been arrested (Image: Essex Police)

The officers requested specialist equipment from Essex Police's stolen vehicle investigation unit after their call kept dropping out when they were near the garages.

Stolen vehicle intelligence officers confirmed a signal jamming device had been used.

Access was then gained to the suspicious garage and a stolen black BMW X5 was found. The model sells for upwards of £70,000.

The BMW had been stolen overnight that day from the Kent area and was already in the process of being stripped of its parts.

Both men were arrested.

One of the suspects had provided false details, but officers were able to establish that he was in fact, wanted in connection with 50 other reports of stolen cars from out of the Essex area.

Acting Police Sergeant Priest says: "This is a great example of partner agency working which led to the arrest of two offenders, one of which was wanted for a multiple vehicle thefts.

"Despite their attempts to mask their tracks using a signal jammer, hard work from officers located this chop shop leading to the recovery of a stolen vehicle and significant intelligence gained in how these chop shops operate.

"Vehicle crime is priority for the community policing team and we continue to clamp down on those who offend."