POLICE were sent on patrols in Colchester High Street to enforce the road's newly introduced car ban for the first time... stopping more than 50 people in just a couple of hours.

Following complaints from the public about drivers flouting the new rules, Colchester's Town Policing Team were out in High Street on Saturday.

More than 50 drivers were stopped and spoken to about the car ban, which prohibit traffic except buses, taxis, blue badge holders, delivery drivers, cyclists and motorbikes.

A vehicle was also seized, two drivers stopped for having no insurance, one for having no licence and another one for failing to comply with a road sign.

Police also used stop and search powers six times during the patrol.

Essex Police Colchester said on Twitter: "A small quantity of cannabis was seized from a group of teenagers.

"Whilst the main objective was vehicles using the High Street, as you can see, it is more than that.

"Uninsured vehicles, children being carried without car seats and seatbelts - potential lives saved."

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Four officers and four Essex Specials, volunteer officers, were at the scene for around two hours on Saturday.

The team has hit out at some members of the public, who told the officers to go do "proper police work".

Essex Police Colchester continued: "We were told to go and do 'proper police work'.

"This, to us, includes crime prevention and for the two hours officers were deployed, no reports of crime in the town centre were reported.

"Despite the small amount of negativity we will continue protecting and serving Essex."

The controversial rules in High Street were introduced in June to increase space for pedestrians and enable social distancing as retailers reopened.

Essex County Council, who is leading on the changes, said enforcement would be used if necessary to stop drivers flouting the rules.

However, Saturday is the first time police have been spotted questioning drivers in High Street, since the ban came into force.

The changes are part of a raft of measures introduced in the town as part of the Safer, Greener, Healthier initiative.

Council bosses say if the changes are successful, they could be made permanent going forward.