Three men have been arrested after a raid led to the discovery of a suspected tobacco smuggling plot worth an estimated £2.4 million.

The suspects, two from Loughton and one from Forest Gate, all in their late 40s, were arrested on suspicion of tobacco smuggling under the Customs and Management Act 1979.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, Essex Police and the National Crime Agency seized 8.5 million cigarettes and 30kg of shisha tobacco as it was unloaded from a container at farmland in Abridge on August 20.

The container had arrived in the UK from Dubai through London Gateway Docks and was carrying millions of pounds worth of goods.

Officers also search premises in Loughton and Forest Gate, where they seized computers, mobile phones and paperwork.

All three men have been bailed until November 27.