A huge convoy involving more than 250 high-tech military vehicles rolled into Colchester on its way to a tactical training exercise.

Merville Barracks was utilised as a Convoy Support Centre, or service stop, for the Fourth Infantry Brigade as it moved from bases across the UK to join Exercise Trident Juncture.

The exercise, which takes place in Norway, will see 40,000 sailors, soldiers and air men from 30 Nato allies test their ability to implement a collective defence operation.

The support centre provided fuel, food and rest for around 500 soldiers between Saturday and yesterday before they moved on via Harwich port.

Eagled-eyed residents may have spotted the First Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment’s iconic Foxhound, Jackal or Husky protected patrol vehicles among others across the town.

Major Cath Carter, of Seven Regt Royal Logistic Corps, said: “It’s been an interesting challenge for us to set up and run the Convoy Support Centre, but Everyone’s worked hard to look after the troops and ensure a seamless continuation of their journey.”

“The Army hasn’t done a road move on this scale in some years, and we’ve learnt a lot about our role supporting the movement of a major force by just getting out and doing it.

“We’ve had great support from Essex Police commercial vehicle unit and I’d like to thank the public for putting up with the extra traffic and any disruption that’s been caused.”

After leaving Colchester, the troops continued to Harwich to board ferries to Europe.

Sapper Ross Read, of Catterick-based 32 Engineer Regiment, said: “Trident Juncture is the biggest exercise I’ve been involved in and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s a great opportunity to work alongside engineers from other NATO armies to swap ideas and learn from each other.”