A MAN was flown to hospital after being stabbed and assaulted close to a row of shops.

Police arrested two men after the incident in Hunwicke Road, Colchester.

Officers were called at 7.40am on Friday after reports the victim had been attacked.

He was found close to the Hunwicke Shopping Centre.

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed he had been flown to hospital for treatment and said they had subsequently arrested two men.

“A cordon was put in place as we were making our inquiries,” he said.

“We believe this may have been a targeted attack.”

Residents saw police officers and ambulance crews, including the air ambulance, in the area on Friday morning.

Police had taped off the area in front of the shops in the Hunwicke Shopping Centre, and a part of nearby Forest Road.

One resident said: “There was clearly something happening down at the bottom shops.

“Police and paramedics were there and you could hear the helicopter flying .

“They had also taped off a bit of Forest Road – it looked like that was where people had been arrested.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust confirmed they had deployed the air ambulance to the scene.

He said: “We responded to an emergency call shortly before 8am regarding an incident on Hunwicke Road, Colchester.

“We sent an ambulance, an ambulance officer vehicle and an air ambulance.

“The patient was transported to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by air ambulance for further treatment.”

Police were speaking to people in the area on Friday, but the shops which are able to open were still accessible.

Anyone who has not spoken to officers should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.