Sixteen suspected gang members were arrested this morning in 22 simultaneous dawn raids in Croydon.

As part of a major operation targeting gangs in the borough, raids were carried out at the addresses, by 250 officers from Croydon and Trident's Central Gangs Unit, assisted by officers from the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG).

Crack cocaine, 400 small bags of cannabis and £1,000 in cash were among items seized by officers.

Those targeted are believed to be active gang members, who are suspected of various drug-related offences, including conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

The majority of the warrants were executed at properties around Thornton Heath, and one raid was carried out at an address in Lambeth.

A 13-year-old boy and a 35-year-old woman are among those arrested. The majority of those arrested are aged between 18 and 22-years-old.

All of those arrested remain in police custody, at police stations across south London.

Acting Detective Inspector John Harnwell of Trident Central Gangs Unit said: "Today's operation supports the Commissioner's commitment to the Total War on Crime.

"By working with the boroughs across London, including Croydon, Trident Gang Crime Command aims to prioritise, disrupt and arrest those who commit gang-related crimes before the courts."

Detective Superintendent Simon Messinger from Croydon Police added: "This should send a clear message to the communities in Croydon that we will relentlessly target those individuals who are involving themselves in gangs and committing serious crime.

"Gang members should be under no uncertain terms we will continue to pursue them all the while they are part of a gang and committing crime."

Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams in the area will be carrying out additional patrols in Thornton Heath and neighbouring wards and speaking with local residents and businesses about today's operation.

Anyone with information about gang crime or those involved should call anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.