A POLICE helicopter carried out a search following reports of a man seen with a possible firearm.

Officers were called to Harbour Crescent, in Harwich, shortly after 9.20pm on Wednesday, *July 17.

They rushed to the scene with reports a man was seen with what appeared to be a firearm.

Officers and a police helicopter carried out a search of the residential area, but the man was not found.

The incident comes just before Essex Police begin a two-week firearm surrender between Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, August 4.

The surrender is to encourage people to hand in their unwanted or unlicensed firearms to the police in a bid to keep the county safer.

People who hand in their firearm during that time won't face prosecution for possessing it illegally.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Kirby, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Gun crime is, fortunately, low in Essex but we do still see offences where firearms are used.

“We have many responsible, law abiding firearms licence holders in Essex but there are members of the criminal fraternity who want to get hold of guns to threaten, frighten and injure others and it’s really important we do everything we can to reduce the chance of them getting their hands on one.

To hand in a firearm call 101 and ask to be put through to your nearest participating police station, arrange a time to surrender the firearm and take them to the police station.

In exceptional circumstances, they can be collected by pre-arranged appointment from members of the public.