POLICE scoured Basildon town centre for two hours after they received reports of a man with a machete.
Officers searched the town and scoured CCTV after they were told the man was travelling on the number 15 bus.
A woman passenger contacted police at about 9.15am as the bus was travelling in Southernhay towards the bus station.
She claimed there was a man on board holding a machete across his lap but that he was not brandishing it at anyone.
The man got off the bus and officers were sent to search the town centre and surrounding area.
A trader in Market Square said the town centre was flooded with officers.
He said: “There were lots of police here. They were near to the pub and the bus station and were shooting up and down through the town centre.
They were obviously looking for someone.
“It looked very serious. I asked them what was going on and one officer said a man had been seen in town with something he shouldn’t have.
“Then they just left.”
They checked CCTV at local businesses but no-one was found matching his description and no other reports were received.
Officers interviewed another passenger who had been on the 15 bus.
She claimed she thought it was a fake knife.
The search was eventually called off.