POLICE launched a large scale search after reports a man was wandering around a popular beauty spot covered in blood and armed with a samurai sword.

Armed officers and the police helicopter were involved in the search of High Woods Country Park on Sunday night.

Essex police had been informed a man was in the area with a large blade.

However nobody matching the description was found.

Police are now appealing for witnesses or anyone who might know who the man was to get in touch with them as soon as possible.

Residents in the Highwoods area of Colchester and beyond reported hearing the police helicopter roaring overheard for more than an hour on Sunday night.

A man who was in the park at the time said he was warned by officers about the sighting and then escorted out of the park.

He said: “While having a cigarette on top of the hill in the country park, the police chopper spotlight got fixed on us.

“There was a few squad cars in the area with some at exits of the park.

“As we walked away from the spotlight, five officers asked us to stop, asked our details and told us that there had been a man covered in blood wielding a samurai sword in close proximity to us.

“We were escorted to Chanterelle where they left us.”

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed they had been looking for someone believed to be hurt and carrying a weapon.

He said: “We were called shortly after 9.45pm on Sunday, April 21 with reports a man had been seen injured and carrying a large knife in High Woods Country Park, near Eastwood Drive, Colchester.

“We carried out an extensive search of the area but could not find him.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Colchester Police Station on 101 quoting incident 1286 of April 21.”

Details can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

The charity also have a website where anyone wishing to pass on information but not their identity, can do so here.