A third of all members of a Leytonstone-based gang are in custody following a series of early morning raids, according to police.

A total of 23 arrests have been made this morning as part of Operation Emu, which was led by the borough's Gang Task Force.

The Guardian accompanied officers this morning as they raided two addresses in Melon Road, Leytonstone, and one in Cann Hall Road, Leytonstone  as part of a crackdown on the Loyal Soldiers, a gang said to be dominant in large parts of south Leytonstone.

Police have seized a revolver, £30,000 cash, shotgun cartridges, and class A drugs. 

The men are currently being held at various London police stations and have been arrested on suspicion of various offences, including conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession of a loaded firearm and money laundering.  

The raids carried out between 5am and 9am were part of the wider Operation Dodo, aimed at dismantling gang-related crime in the borough.

The Loyal Soldiers (LS) is believed to have been created through the merger of two Leytonstone gangs, the Cathall Boys and the AC Crew.

The gangs are said to have started working together in 2010, according to police intelligence, and there are currently 60 active members.

Nine members are currently serving jail time for various offences, including the supply of drugs and weapons, assault and manslaughter.

Today's arrests involved approximately 300 officers from units including the Met's Territorial Support Group, Special Operations, Specialist Crime Directorate, and Air Support Unit.

More than a dozen addresses across the E11 postcode were targeted.

Police also searched properties in Manor Farm Drive, and Deerleap Grove in Chingford, Warren Road, Park Road and Nottingham Road in Leyton, Drayton Road in Tottenham, and Ramsey Road in Forest Gate.

The majority of members are aged between 18 and 22 years old, police say.