DETECTIVES are searching for people who saw a silver Ford Mondeo in the early hours after a man when he was hit by a car.

Police were called to Harwich Road, Lawford, shortly after 2.20am on Saturday. Tragically the 44-year-old man from Colchester. died at the scene.

A 20-year-old man from Clacton was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

He was further arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, driving without insurance, failing to stop after an accident and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He has been released under investigation.

Police cordoned off a section between Garden City and Tile Barn Lane as they launched a forensic investigation into the smash and the events which led up to it.

A Ford Mondeo was found in Station Road, Manningtree.

Det Sgt Peter Swan, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who saw a man walking along the A137 Harwich Road, away from Manningtree.

“We are also looking to trace anyone who saw a silver Ford Mondeo driving along the same road and towards the area around The Skinners Arms pub in Station Road, Manningtree.”

Councillor Carlo Guglielmi said: “My thoughts are with the man’s family.

“It is absolutely awful what they must be going through.

“These things are horrible at the best of times but in the run up to Christmas it just seems to make things worse."

Mr Guglielmi urged anyone who knows anything about what happened to call officers immediately with information or footage to help them piece together what happened.

He said: “If anyone saw anything or knows anything then I would say to them they should do the right thing and contact the police.”

Mr Guglielmi said it was unusual to see such incidents on that stretch of road between Lawford and Ardleigh.

He added: “It is a straight road, very wide and actually an A-road - the A137.”

The road was shut for most of Saturday with drivers urged to avoid the area if at all possible.

Witnesses and anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage are asked to contact the serious collision investigation unit on 01245 240590.

Alternatively e-mail or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.