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More than 300 police officers carry out dawn raids across Essex

Around 300 police officers carried out dawn raids across Essex this morning after a probe into the theft of dozens of cars worth more than £3m.

Police were sent a farm near Romford, Essex and around 20 other locations across the county and east London at around 5.45am today as they targeted a 'prolific gang' believed to be working in the area.

In a joint sting by Essex Police, British Transport Police and the Met, officers seized Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars alongside cash.

Around 90 cars are believed to have been stolen by the gang in recent months, with many suspected to have been taken from railway station car parks. 

Officers carried out dawn raids at a number of locations in Essex this morning (pictured at the scene)

In a joint sting by British Transport Police, Essex Police and the Met, officers seized Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars

Police used an armoured car to smash their way into the farm, which has several outbuildings dotted around its site. 

Dramatic photographs show police at the scene, with two using an angle grinder to cut their way into a sealed garage and retrieve suspected stolen property.

Around nine arrests are believed to have been made and 20 warrants executed in the raids. 

Cash was also seized during the raids, and in east London a cannabis farm is also reported to have been found.  

At least 300 officers are thought to have been involved in the early morning raids today

The gang is thought to have targeted locations including Billericay Ingatestone, and Brentwood in Essex.

And in London are though to have stolen vehicles from towns including Havering, Barking and Dagenham.

The gang is thought to have run a slick operation, using a tow-truck to remove expensive cars in just a few minutes.

The vehicle's identities are then changed, with their number plates switched out and code numbers replaced. 

Cars are then sold on to people who may not know they're purchasing a stolen vehicle - and other times the vehicles are dismantled into parts or shipped abroad. 

An investigation is now underway to see whether vehicles found at the farm in Essex are stolen or legitimately owned.