POLICE have caught dozens of drivers for speeding during a crackdown in a notorious 'rat-run' - after fed up residents demanded urgent action to tackle the problem.

Officers used a speed gun to snare more than 70 drivers in Overton Drive Wanstead, after people living there complained to the Guardian about the road being used as a race track at certain times of the day.

Inspector Clive Darvill told a meeting of Area One committee tonight (Monday) that police prosecuted 16 motorists and warned a further 55 for breaking the speed limit during a three-day operation in the street last week.

The fastest driver stopped was speeding at nearly 50mph in the 30mph zone.

Despite the success of the operation, during which officers used the gun for a total of seven hours, Insp Darvill suggested that speeding in the road was not as much of a problem as some residents think.

He said: "People's perception of the speed some cars are going is often different to their actual speed.

"There's a perception that there's a speeding problem (in Overton Drive) which is perhaps a bit different from the reality."

Council officer Steve Grayer said there were no plans to install an extra width restriction in the road - as wanted by some residents - but that the council and the police would continue to work together to tackle speeding in Overton Drive.

Insp Darvill said this would include further 'high visibility' operations using the speed gun.