Police have launched an investigation after an attempted rape near a church.

Officers were called shortly after 12.30am today with concerns for the welfare of a woman in Sutton Road, Southend

It was reported that a white man described as being around 5ft 10ins tall with black hair, approached the woman in the area of All Saints Church and had attempted to rape her.

The woman managed to fight the man off and he ran in the direction of York Road.

Anyone who was in the area around this time and either saw or heard anything suspicious or saw a man matching this description, is asked to call the South Major Investigation Team on 101 quoting crime reference number 42/143834/19.

You can also email scd.appeals.essex@essex.pnn.police.uk or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Extra officer patrols have been taking place in the area, so if residents have any information or concerns, they can speak to an officers.