POLICE scoured Rayleigh after a woman was attacked and her cat was killed.

The force helicopter circled the town and cars raced through the streets looking for the suspect after a 62-year-old victim ended up in hospital after being attacked in a house in Eastwood.

The woman's cat was also injured and died after being taken to the vets later that evening.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Police were called at 5.30pm on Wednesday, March 23 to a report that a woman had been assaulted at a house in Eastwood Rise.

“The 62-year-old victim suffered injuries to her face and her cat had also been injured.

“The victim was taken to hospital and the cat to the vets where sadly it later died."

Teams scoured the area until the suspect was found and arrested in Rayleigh High Street.

The police spokeswoman added: “Officers and the police helicopter searched for the suspect.

“A 37-year-old man from Leigh was arrested later that evening in Rayleigh High Street on suspicion of assault, criminal damage and affray.

“He was taken into custody for questioning. The victim and the suspect are known to each other."

Neighbours that witnessed the commotion on their street were surprised to hear what had happened on what they described as a "safe and quiet" neighbourhood.

Barry Ellis, of Eastwood Rise, was shocked to see a police helicopter flying low over his house.

The 72-year-old said: “All we saw was a low flying police helicopter. He was 200ft above here and we wondered what was happening. He was hovering right over here which was amazing.”

Deborah Walter, also of Eastwood Rise, said her son saw police cars driving up and down the street at the time of the incident.

The 52-year-old added: “We saw the helicopter and my son said he saw many cars going up and down the road.”

Residents all over Leigh and Rayleigh reported on social media police cars were driving around the area.

Helen Vanner said: “Does anyone know what is going on tonight? Police cars, ambulances, fire engines and they are still coming?”

Sarah Pinion said: “Three cars and an arrest outside new Marks and Spencers about 15 minutes ago. We just saw them with a man in cuffs going to one of the cars as we drove past.”

Emma Choat-Howard said: “Helicopter flying around over near the town/ train station. Think it's a police one. Anyone know anything?”