A MAN is in a critical condition after falling ill while trying to help a woman he believed was being assaulted.

Just before 8pm on Thursday, a member of the public went to the assistance of a woman after reportedly seeing a man trying to force her into a car in Colchester High Street.

While reporting the incident to police, the man in his 60s suffered a medical episode.

It is believed to have been a heart attack.

Officers and ambulance attended and a scene guard was put in place for a short period of time close to After Office Hours and Red Lion Books.

The ambulance service took the man to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust said: "We received an emergency 999 call to High Street Colchester at 8.05pm after reports of a male collapsing.

"Two ambulances, an ambulance car and a community first responder were sent.

"On arrival they treated a male who had been taken unwell, he was taken to Colchester General Hospital for further treatment."

Officers arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of assaulting a woman and he remains in custody. 

Investigations are ongoing.