Police have recovered a ‘significant’ amount of items which they believe have been stolen during a series of vehicle break-ins.

Detectives launched a large scale investigation, called Operation Guard, last month to tackle the number of thefts occurring from cars and vans in Braintree, Halstead and Chelmsford.

Many of the items targeted by thieves are understood to be tools and a spike in the number of incidents lead to increased patrols across mid Essex to ease concerns.

Two people have now been charged in connection with a total of 19 offences, which are all alleged to have taken place across a three day period in September.

Katie Hayes, 33, of Pollards Villas, Bardfield Saling, and 24 year-old Jason Connors, of Tamar Way, Slough, were both arrested on Friday following weeks of police investigations.

Hayes has been charged with conspiring to steal from a motor vehicle while Connors has been charged with conspiring to steal from a motor vehicle, two counts of driving without insurance, failing to provide a specimen, and driving while disqualified.

They both appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and are next due to appear for a pre-trial preparation hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, November 1.

Essex Police says a third person, a 27 year-old man from Slough, has also been arrested in connection with the investigation.

He has since been released on bail until Monday, December 2.

Officers say they are now looking to return a large amount of what is believed to be stolen property which has been recovered during their investigation to the original owners.

Despite the arrests and subsequent charges, Braintree Police is urging motorists to remain vigilant and take precautions where possible.

A spokesman said: “We ask that you remain vigilant and report anything suspicious straight away. If anyone has any CCTV, dash cam or ring doorbell or similar footage of any persons or vehicles acting suspiciously please let us know.

“Please remember to log serial numbers of any tools you own.

“This helps us when we recover these items.

“Alternatively look at different ways of property marking your tools and keep a record of the make and model and where you have marked them.”

Officers are also asking any victims of vehicle theft to contact police if they have not already done so.

Contact Braintree CID on 101 or email braintree.and.uttlesford.community.policing.team@essex.police.uk.