A man has been jailed for 18 months after police stopped his vehicle in West Mersea and found children sitting on weapons.

Jamie Hayden, 38, of Waldergraves Lane, West Mersea, was given nine months for affray and one month for possession of drugs, to run concurrently, at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, April 9.

He received 12 week sentences for each of the four counts of causing a child unnecessary suffering, to run concurrently to each other but consecutively to the affray.

Hayden also was given six months for possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon, these are also running concurrently to each other but consecutively to the affray.

A spokesman said: "At around 2.40am on Saturday, July 15, police stopped a Range Rover in Ipswich Road, West Mersea, and found two young children in the car, one sitting on a samurai sword. There was also a large hunting knife in the vehicle.

"During his arrest, Hayden told officers that two other children in his care, both aged under nine, were at his home alone. We attended the address where we found the children and drugs inside."

After he was released under investigation the following day, Hayden drove to an address in Chingford, London, and threatened the occupants with a metal pole.

Investigating officer Dc Kirsty Brannon, of the Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Our officers carried out a routine stop check and were shocked to find two young children in arm’s length of weapons. We were given a further shock when Hayden told arresting officers that two further young children in his care were at his home alone. We quickly attended the address and safeguarded the children.

Not only were these vulnerable young children in danger, they were all visibly upset. Fortunately, we managed to arrest Hayden before they were seriously hurt. He will now face the consequences of his actions locked in a prison cell.”