A total of 35 adresses were raided this morning as police arrested 17 suspected members of a notorius gang.

The Guardian accompanied officers from Waltham Forest's Anti-Gang Task Force as they raided two adressess in Melon Road, Leytonstone, as part of a crackdown on the Loyal Soldiers, a gang based in the Harrow Road area.

More than 300 officers were involved in the operation, which took four months to plan.

A firearm, drugs and a large amount of cash were seized at two addresses in Leytonstone.

The Loyal Soldiers are believed to be involved in dealing drugs, violence and firearms.

Police believe the gang, which has ties across the E11 postcode, has been "seriously dismantled" by today's operation.

It is the first time an operation on this scale has been carried out in Waltham Forest, Borough Commander Mark Collins said.

He added: “We will continue to work with the community and our partners to make Waltham Forest safer.

“We carried out this operation today because criminal activity of this nature affects the quality of life in our communities and particularly the close-by residents who are affected by the violence and theft that accompanies the drug-dealing.

“Drug-dealing is never victimless and its impact can ruin lives. We will not give up the fight against crime.”

The opeeration invloved the Territorial Support Group, Specialist Crime Directorate and Air Support Unit.

A firearm, drugs and a large amount of cash has been seized from two separate addresses in Leytonstone.