ABOUT 200 people searched for an eight-year-old boy missing boy in Brightlingsea The community rallied round after the news spread on social networking sites on Saturday at about 7.30pm.

Dozens of volunteers met at Brightlingsea fire station where they were given maps of areas to search.

The boy was found safe and well within a couple of hours.

The incident has prompted one of the volunteers involved in the search to set up a new system if anyone goes missing.

A man, who runs a Facebook page called Brightlingsea Watch, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It was overwhelming to see howmany people came out.

“When we got out the front and saw so many people were there it was breathtaking.

“Brightlingsea is known for its community spirit. We want to keep that as strong as it has been in the past.

“People didn’t want to sit at home and hear all this going on, they wanted to get out and help.”

The man has set up a list of 40 people who are happy to be contacted if there is an emergency.

He has also set up an online texting system to allow him to contact people immediately in future.

Residents have suggested keeping torches and high-visibility jackets at the fire station.

People have come forward offering money to provide equipment.

The Brightlingsea Watch founder was inspired to set up a group after pensioner George Kuti went missing in the town last June.

He added: “It is all about mobilising people as quickly as possible.

“We were lucky on Saturday because people were on their computers. What if it is on a Tuesday night at 2am?”

“We were held up on Saturday because the police needed everyone’s details before we went on the search.

“If we have details on a database, we can just tick people off a list and hand it to police, which will enable us to get out there quicker.”