A SPECIAL police squad has been launched to crack down on violence and drug dealing caused by criminal gangs moving into North Essex.

The new dedicated task force has been picked to bring down drug dealers who are moving into the area.

Detectives say gangs are now operational in Tendring, Colchester, Chelmsford, Braintree, Maldon and Uttlesford.

Chief superintendent Carl O’Malley said: “The aim of the operation is not only to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs to North Essex, but also to tackle the associated violence that these gangs can bring.

"I am not willing to tolerate the culture and behaviour of these people."

One successful raid has already been carried out in Clacton.

Anyone with information on drug dealing or criminal gangs can contact the task force at Braintree police station on 101.