Great Britain

Armed cops smash ‘rent-a-gun’ gang as 350 officers swoop in dawn raids across London, Essex and Kent

ARMED cops smashed a 'rent-a-gun' gang as 350 officers swooped in dramatic dawn raids today.

Tooled-up cops stormed into 11 addresses in London, Essex and Kent this morning as police targeted crooks using guns in revenge attacks.

The raids took place across Barking, Harwich and Canterbury as officers from the Met, Kent and Essex Police made 10 arrests, executing 11 firearms warrants.

Four firearm recovery dogs took part in the early morning raids, which came after a spate of shootings and stabbings in Barking, East London.

Detectives discovered a criminal gang was plotting violent revenge attacks on targeted victims.

Suspects arrested in this morning's operation were involved in ‘renting’ firearms in revenge plots, police believe.

DAWN SWOOP

Police footage shows heavily armed cops preparing to mount the daring operation, which was part of Operation Wordwell.

Specialist firearms officers are seen preparing their weapons as fellow cops grab police shields before smashing their way into suspects' addresses.

Masked cops in jet-black body armour and helmets unload their equipment from police cars before carrying out the raids.

A police German Shepherd is seen being walked around a yard before officers swoop.

Video taken after one raid shows a barefoot suspect in shorts being searched by two officers.

Ten people, aged between 16 and 20 years old, were arrested for offences including conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH with intent.

They remain in police custody following the crackdown, with the Met saying the joint police operation had "thwarted a criminal gang".

Detective Superintendent Paul Trevers, who led the operation for the Met, said: "Following a number of violent incidents in east London, officers from the East Area Gangs Unit have meticulously pulled this operation together, which has taken months of hard work and dedication. 

By making these pre-planned arrests today, we have been able to thwart a criminal gang involved in the use of lethal firearms.

Detective Superintendent Paul Trevers, Met Police

"This operation - Operation Wordwell - started in September 2020 following a number of shootings and stabbings in Barking, East London.

"By linking the offences, officers realised that one criminal gang were planning violent attacks on other individuals.

"By making these pre-planned arrests today, we have been able to thwart a criminal gang involved in the use of lethal firearms."

Police continued searching the addresses after carrying out the dawn swoops.

Top cops set up a specialist operations room to observe the raids as they took place, with members of the public from Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) present.

Chief Inspector Darren Deex, Operational Policing Command, Essex Police, said: “In working with the Metropolitan Police today, not only have we supported colleagues to make an arrest, we have helped make Essex that little bit safer.

“Our residents know that we will always take action to remove firearms and weapons off our streets and bring those who carry or use them to justice, and we take pride in knowing the community supports us in that aim.

"There is no place for such violence in our county.”

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