A GANG, suspected of stealing charity collection bags, were among six people arrested during a crackdown on travelling crooks.
More than 40 police officers were involved in the crackdown, which saw police “locking down” one part of Basildon in a bid to snare criminals passing through the area.
During the crackdown - called Surround a Town - police officers parked up at the junction of Felmores and Eastmayne and pulled over motorists suspected of flouting the law.
Officers were also out on patrols on bikes and in cars using Automated Number Plate Recognition Technology to pull over suspect vehicles.
Officers pulled over a truck near to Billericay which was laden with bags due to be collected by the British Heard Foundation charity. The bags had been left out by residents and filled with unwanted items for the organisation to sell in its shops.
All four men aged 24, 29, 32 and 36, and from East London, were arrested on suspicion of theft and are still being questioned.
In total police stopped more than 320 vehicles, 14 of which were seized for being uninsured. A further 103 vehicles had expired MOTs, 102 people were found not wearing seatbelts while 40 drivers were snared using mobiles.