POLICE hunted for a gunman in Leigh.

Essex Police confirmed they were searching for a man, who was reported to be carrying a firearm in Leigh Road.

The police helicopter was dispatched and seen above Leigh Bell Wharf beach at about 1pm on Friday.

No arrests have so far been made, with the suspect still on the loose.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I spotted the police helicopter circling on the seafront, it moved inland and over Broadway.

“I couldn’t tell what the incident was, but it definitely looked serious.

“The helicopter was circling for half an hour at least, if not longer, it is worrying.”

Meanwhile Peter Wexham, Leigh ward councillor, was also concerned.

He said: “It’s not what you want to see at all, it is worrying.

“We want people to be enjoying themselves in the hot weather, not causing chaos in the summer.

“It damages the seafront trade when things like this are happening, it’s not good.

“It turns people away from the old town and then we all suffer.

“Every summer there’s problems over the school holidays, especially on the seafront, not normally this serious though, but it has the same effect.

“I’ve spoken to the fishermen about the constant problems they are facing from the yobs. They try and cause problems.

“You just don’t know how dangerous people can be.”

A police spokesman spoke to the Echo and confirmed officers were called in at 12.10pm to reports of a man in possession of a firearm in Leigh Road, Leigh.

A search took place without success and enquiries are ongoing.